And the Internet is killing the Republican party. At least, it's killing the Gingrich-Rove-Delay wing of the R party. I'll be making this point starting here and in 2 or 3 posts to follow.
The G-R-D win of the R party reached its zenith with George Bush, but really started around the time of the Contract With America when Gingrich authored a memo encouraging Republicans to demonize their Democratic opponents. He advocated using vicious personal attacks as a means to drive people away from the Democratic party, and it worked, until now.
Karl Rove, of course was a master of this. Thus, the attacks on John McCain in the 2000 election for fathering a "black" baby. You can see the tactic today in the attacks on Obama as terrorist, socialist, Muslim, not pro-America, etc. It's pretty obvious; attack the person, not the issue.
In addition to this type of campaigning, I see a couple of other distinguishing factors. One is the "politics over policy" emphasis of this wing, and the other is reliance on religious fundamentalists as the key voting block.
Bush's administration, and the Republicans in Congress, continually press for a political advantage regardless of whether the policy is right for the country. Example: pressing for Supreme Court judges who will vote to overturn Rove v. Wade. Abortion as an issue has divided this country for years, decades, and the divisions are bitter. Instead of trying to implement sensible policies to reduce abortions (sex education and birth control) and bring people together in a compromise, the GRD wing has used this a wedge to excite its base. Another: Terry Schiavo.
That the GRD wing relied on fundamentalists is just a given and doesn't need to be argued. (A question for this group: With the Rs in charge from 1994 - 2008, and with most of that time in control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency, what did you get in return for you support?)
Next: A look at the other wing and the divisions splitting the R party.