I can't help but notice that--at least within my own personal sphere of contacts--there seem to be two views of what the GOP is becoming. Given the demographic and ideological background of that sphere, it is unsurpising that very few of its members were lifelong Republicans, and most of those who were long found themselves outside the mainstream of their own party.
One group includes folks like me. I never supported the GOP, and I thought that the party had reached a nadir of American politics with the Tom Delay House. I look back at past GOP leaders through the lens of hindsight, and I see a few that I should have supported: Reagan, Gingrich, Kemp. Still, I am not sorry for my past opposition--particularly given the dominance of social conservatives in the GOP of 1980-2006. But I see a new power structure within the party forming, emphasizing structural economic reform at home and a robust defense centered on American interests and the promotion of global liberalism abroad.
My take: I did not support the GOP as it was. I do support the GOP as it is. And I am excited about supporting where it seems to be heading.
The second group includes many of my friends who count themselves as Obama supporters, or whose criticsim of Obama stems mostly from his left. They never supported the GOP in the past, either. But they have developed a newfound admiration for folks like Eisenhower, Bob Dole, GHWB, Bob Bennet, Dick Lugar, and even Orrin Hatch. As they tell it, this "old style" GOP was full of moderates, whom they always opposed in fact, but could have seen supporting in theory. The new crop of GOP leaders, on the other hand, is so far to the right that they can see neither supporting them on anything or ever reaching compromise--even in theory.
Their take: They did not support the GOP as it was, but they were allegedly open to the possibility that someone inside that GOP might, at some point, say something that they considered supportable. As the GOP stands today--and is becoming--they have foreclosed their willingness to listen in theory, as well as to agree in practice.
...all of which goes mostly to confirm my oft-stated view that today's Democratic Party has run so hard to the left that it wouldn't recognize the center if it landed on them.