A.L. gets to the root of it:
When you've just been voted out of power for manifest incompetence and your opponents are led by a very popular and reasonable-sounding person, you don't have the luxury of acting righteous and uncompromising all the time. You have to acknowledge error. You have to act civilly. You have to appear pragmatic and reasonable. But the GOP is not interested in doing any of these things. Those who are left in the party are ultra-partisan and utterly convinced of their own infallibility and moral righteousness. Until they lose that attitude and general combativeness, it won't matter what their ideas are. They'll just keep turning people off.
Cantor and Jeb are at least trying, I suppose. But it reminds me of the endless Tory "listening tours" in the wake of their 1997 collapse. It's eleven years later, and only now do they look like getting back into office. And only after Blair has long left the building.