The thing is that the modern day Democrats have those old school conservative values now. I do think that the GOP enjoyed the success of the 80's and then expected to win in 1992. The 1st Bush administration had won a war in Kuwait, the Soviet Union broke up and allowed religion in, computers were starting to take off in the home and were an improvement. But the loss lead the GOP congressional leadership to write 'The Contract With America'. Now, Dole wasn't a modern enough candidate in '96, but the GOP started to harden around a set of principles and ideas. Talk radio and word-of-mouth/political campaigns gave people the talking points to use and to try and change the minds of enough people. And by 2000 they started governing based on their principals instead of that was best for the country and all of the people. And then the Internet happened, and TV networks, talk radio, and the housing bubble burst and the recession happened. The only way to get back into power was to prevent the Democrats from doing anything successfully.