Coming out of the serious losses of '08, Republicans ought to be taking stock and finding a new direction. Republicans used to be a party of ideas (issues). We remember Ronald Reagan for "Morning in America" and Newt Gengrich for "Contract with America", ideas and issues. Whereas in this election Obama never expressed a single concrete idea (he still hasn't) and McCain just said "Vote for me 'cause I am a distinguished war hero". In the absence of ideas from either side, the election went to the pretty face and the resonant voice. Obama won 'cause he looked good on TV, not 'cause he expressed any good ideas.
If issues are the coin of the realm, Republicans need to distinguish between real political issues, foreign policy, financial regulations, immigration law, energy supply, taxes and spending, copyright revision versus "hot button" (aka social) issues ( abortion and gays). Sensible voters are concerned about steering the country safely thru a dangerous world, protecting the homeland from attack, and growing the economy. Although there are a bunch of voters attracted by the hot button issues, there are an equal number of voters driven away by them. For example, abortion isn't a winning issue, half the country is for it and the other half is against it. Plus the issue is moot, the Supreme Court has made it legal and there isn't much you can say after that.
The crucial independent voters care more about real issues and are often repelled by the hot button issues. Republicans need not repudiate their anti abortion and anti gay marriage stands but surely they don't need to talk about them all the time. Do like Sarah Palin did, although she is clearly against abortion, she never talked about it on the campaign trail.