Without further ado:
fenrir said: Regarding the republican party, "A person may be to blame, but not the entire party..."
I say: That's like saying, "A mafia member may be to blame, but not the entire mafia."
We have to admit that certain organizations and/or political parties attract a certain element of humanity (for a variety of reasons, both good and bad). Over time, by bits and pieces, some of the more radical elements corrupt the original philosophy of those organizations/parties to fit their own whims. Some are for ridiculously self-serving, petty reasons, but which hurt no one else in the country (certain liberal elements); others are for authoritarian reasons, cloaked in a veil of patriotism, that definitely infringe on the rights of everyone else in the country (certain conservative elements). Eventually, those bits and pieces add up. Once that accumulation passes a certain point, as has happened in our Congress, there is a snowball effect, and the corruption takes on a life of its own. Eventually, there is a point of no return for that snowball, and one must admit that that particular organization/party is a lost cause.
Personally, I believe that has happened to the republican party. It started in the mid 1960s, as Tom states (maybe even a little of it during the "red scare" of the 1950s). By January 1981, with Reagan's presidency (actually, George H.W. Bush's vice presidency), the snowball was starting to get out of control. All hope for the party was lost in January 1995 (although this may not have been clear to everyone yet), with Newt Gingrich's republican "revolution" in Congress (even Nixon's White House counsel John Dean believes this, as did Barry Goldwater).
As I state in my previous comment, I wouldn't vote for a republican candidate now, or ever again, even if he or she was the reincarnation of Gandhi, because he or she could possibly allow the bad republicans to keep a majority of seats in either or both houses. I suspect that there are many other Americans who feel the same way, and the numbers are growing -- hence the republican need for hackable voting machines made by republican-dominated corporations. If the republican snowball keeps on expanding and destroying everything in its path, even some hardcore republican voters are going to abandon it. If you doubt me, here is a very shocking survey that might give you pause: John Birch Society. You cannot get more TRADITIONALLY conservative than the John Birch Society.
In my book, this means the republican party is lost, although it may take a long time for it to die out. When that day comes, traditional, honest conservatives will have to start a new party from scratch.
Thus the cycle goes on.