Charlie Cook takes the long view:
[C]ould the Republicans’ arguably rigged House majority actually be a curse disguised as a blessing?... [I]n the process of quarantining Democrats, Republicans effectively purged millions of minority voters from their own districts, and that should raise a warning flag. By drawing themselves into safe, lily-white strongholds, have Republicans inadvertently boxed themselves into an alternate universe that bears little resemblance to the rest of the country?
That, I assume, is a rhetorical question. So on to answering some others.
The GOP is in a desperate scramble to survive, which is hardly anything new. The party repudiated its own long views of Eisenhower Republicanism once it decided, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to strategically "fuse" intolerant Christianists and libertarian Goldwaterites under the GOP's ideological umbrella of rabid anti-communism (now rabid anti-Islamism or an aggressive anti-"Red" China stance or, heaven forfend, there's our Number One geopolitical foe, Russia!)--and thus win more elections.
Electoral politics assumed a vast, unlofty superiority over policy concerns and political consistency; hence the party's ease, for example, in denouncing Democratic deficits but unashamedly embracing its own, or in coddling religious fanatics through stridently anti-women's rights rhetoric while preaching civil liberties to the libertarians. Such were nimble acts of select demagoguery, but also politically practical and absolutely necessary if the chief objective was to be gained: more elections won and more power grabbed. (It can be conceded without contradiction that the point of politics is, naturally, to win elections; but generally some underlying, essentially immutable philosophy of governance is assumed by outsiders. With the modern GOP, we cannot assume any such thing.)
This is, admittedly, a broad stroke. But it's also broadly true: Since, roughly, Goldwater's presidential campaign, Republicans have pledged to themselves that whatever it takes to win the next election is what they're for. Long, principled views? Pshaw. Those are for candyass philosophers, not tough, triumphant, working politicians.
So whenever strategists and pollsters indirectly ask Republicans if by creating "safe, lily-white strongholds" they have only "inadvertently boxed themselves into an alternate universe," Republicans don't really give a damn. They're now thinking only of 2014, the next election. What of 2016, or 2018, or 2020 or ...? They'll think about that in 2016, and in 2018, and ...
And their thinking won't be too tasking. Because for Republicans, principles are both fungible and cheap.