The principled Republican right has always been a minority. It has always had to make alliances with unprincipled hairpins in order to gain national power — typically with Southern segregationists, or Christian theocrats.
It has always been an uneasy and tenuous collaboration. It is so uneasy and tenuous now that “rational” Republicans have had to abandon all their principles in order to keep the hairpins on board. If this capitulation fails in 2012, the strategy may have reached the end of its practical usefulness.
If the capitulation succeeds, what will it gain for Republicans? Power without even the vestige of principle — a moral vacuum that will itself lead inevitably and in short order to the end of The Republican Party.