Perhaps Barack Obama will not realize the desires and natural policy outcomes that derive from [the emerging liberal] coalition. Indeed, he almost certainly will not and can not, any more than Nixon could have implemented the fully formed Reagan agenda back in 1971. But he has done much. And the next president elected by this coalition will do more, and the next one after that will do even more than the one that came before, until in 25 years, even a Republican president will be significantly more liberal than any Democrat in 2008. Conservatives understand this, even if only at a deep-seated level in the darkest fathoms of their collective angst.
So Santorum is a big fat loogie into the gathering wind. Kevin Drum believes the GOP will reform itself eventually:
When Democrats lost to Reagan, they nominated first Walter Mondale and then Michael Dukakis before finally tacking to the center and putting Bill Clinton in the White House. That was a 12-year stretch. Britain's Labor Party spent a decade moving left before they finally tacked back to the center after losing to Margaret Thatcher. It took them 18 years to finally regain power. Republicans have only been in the wilderness for either four or six years, depending on how you count. If it takes until 2016 for them to come to their senses, that would be a pretty normal progression.