The GOP, what was once referred to as "the Grand Old Party", is stuck in the 1950s. The "establishment" Republicans are what used to be called "Rockefeller Republicans". Not to put too fine a point on it, rich, white, and out of touch. They long for the days when Eisenhower built the interstate highway system and both sides of the aisle went out for drinks together after a hardly days work.
I claim some small degree of expertise here because I used to be a Republican and even ran for office twice (unsuccessfully) as a Republican. In those days the liberal Republicans were more liberal than the blue dog Democrats. They were the establishment and they were the seat of power in the party.
In those more naive days, you won elections. You raised money. You toed the party line. You moved on up when the opportunity presented. The more well connected you were, the higher up the ladder was your starting point. Start high enough. Don't screw up publicly. You could get a chance to run for President. Just wait your turn.
Well, the Goofy Old Politicians, in their heart, believe it is still that way. While the Democrats learned to do hard ball, down and dirty, gotcha politics, Republicans were still meeting at the Harvard Club, or some such establishment, and sipping aperitifs. They seemed to be happy to be the loyal opposition in that great Washington club sometimes referred to as the United States Congress.
Swap some votes for a little hand-me-down power and life was good. As long as you cooperated the folks with the real power would let you slip something through once in a while or strongly oppose a bill that they had more the enough votes to pass. Just play the game and they all survive and dine off the fatted calf.
So now the GOP has an opportunity. They have the House and the Senate and there is a Presidential election on the way. But they are dropping the ball. No, wrong, they never picked up the ball. They left it laying on the field because the had no idea what to do with it. While they should be taking strong public positions and touting them long and loud, all we hear is "the sound of silence".
Two months after taking power, the unpopular President and a loud and often strange minority have backed them into corners at every turn. OK, GOPers, you kept the same old leadership. Now you are getting what you paid for. Hooray for the Goofy Old Politicians.