Tim Pawlenty - absent some Mark Sanford meltdown - could be the person to watch over the next few years. He and Sarah Palin could be interesting (and excellent) bookends to a GOP resurgence.
But if Republicans and conservatives are ever going to get off the ground, it's not going to be via listening to the useful idiots in conservative ranks who thought Obama was a good idea.
No, it will be listening to the Common Sense of The People who, in true conservative fashion, face the tasks at hand, use what works, and build upon that. Those who get too enamoured of the intellectual/academic/cocktail-circuit life are the ones who end up losing touch with reality.
I'm not for rule-of-mob but I do think that failing to listen to ideas because they come from a "person" rather than an "academic" is a failure of imagination, courtesy, and intelligence.