As I see it there are only two paths:
Either the Republican Party will become a reflection of centrist America from a social perspective, and retain its conservative fiscal ideals (which it abandoned over the past eight years); or it will become even more Right socially, more controlled by the Religious Right zealots, and more intolerant and exclusionary than it already is.
Either they will take a step back from invoking God as the justification for everything from provoking war to spread our brand of democracy at the point of a gun to people who neither want nor respect that objective; or they will continue to embrace it as “God’s Plan”.
Either they will recognize that marriage between people who love each other, irrespective of their sexual orientation, neither “picks my pocket nor breaks my leg” as Thomas Jefferson said about people’s religious beliefs; or they will continue to try and force their Biblical prohibitions on everyone.
Either they will respect a woman’s right to control her reproductive process, and stand aside from impeding medical science’s efforts to improve human existence through stem cell research … even while they themselves may decry it; or they will continue to try and force their beliefs on others and stifle scientific advancement through governmental intrusion.
Either they will finally accept the separation of church and state as declared in our Constitution, carefully defined by Founding Fathers’ writings, and underscored by the Supreme Court; or they will continue to attempt to make this a “Christian Nation”, foister their superstition on others by back door government edict, and continue the attempt to dumb down our schools’ science curriculum.
The course they choose will determine if they become a party which embraces the evolution of America’s values and thus present a viable alternative to the Democratic liberal agenda, or if they will surrender the party to the Religious nuts, sink further into a stunted, intolerant, backward mindset that places the prejudices and ignorance of their scripture above 21st century mainstream modernity, and secular common sense.
It may take a couple of years to see what faction of the Republican Party emerges victorious. But if the vapid religiosity of the Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee Creationists emerge as leaders; if Republican nominees seek the blessing and kiss the ring of the “Rev.” Hagees and “Rev.” Robertsons, and court the Dobsons, then it will be clear they have opted to become America’s version of the Taliban / the “Party of Jesus”.
If that happens, let them rot in their political irrelevance for it.