Americans are, in general, conservative. These next four years we will see a push toward the left on issues such as health care and welfare programs. However, as we have seen in the past, such a push generally leads to a strong rebound by conservatives who can cash in on the failures of liberal policies. 1984 wasn't a fluke. It was the prime example of a conservative leader who communicated Republican ideals coherently and with a connection to the populace as a whole.
This past election cycle was not so much a perfect storm for the Republican party as it was a Titanic-type accident. Arrogance, failure to heed and respond to rising concerns with a well-balanced conservative approach, and an apparent lack of conservative leadership left the party at the mercy of the waves and winds. This listless approach allowed our party to sink after running into the economic situation that befelled the American public in 2008.
It is no wonder that a completely unproven, un-accomplished neophyte such as Obama was able to sweep in and appear as intelligent and levelheaded as he did to as many people as he did. That is not to say that Obama is not intelligent or levelheaded. But it does go a long way to demonstrate how easily someone, whose only extensive writing to date has been about himself, was able to rise from obscurity to take the White House.
I sincerely hope that President Obama succeeds. However, I only see his success through, what to his supporters would deem to be, selling out the left. If Obama fails to shift significantly to the center (although he has already), we will see one of the most liberal agendas legislated over the next four years in over 70 years. At that point, I believe it won't take long for the country to see how liberal policies fail - but this point will only be made if the GOP is ready to stand up and act as intelligently and level-headed as Obama seemed to be during this past election cycle.