The most logical leader was GOP Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin after her heavy exposure and undeniable connection and popularity with the base during the election. She was subsequently diminished by some negative press post-election, this "burial" is largely traced to back to the GOP powerbase signaling an unease with the anointment of her as Conservative savior.
Another logical leader is Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh. With his 20 million+ listeners, he has always been a consistent force in conservatism - instrumental in bringing the GOP back to power in 94' (as "National Precinct Captain" with his "dittohead caucus") and the unofficial ringmaster of the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" that dogged the Clinton presidency.
As Howard Fineman of Newsweek puts it thusly
Fineman: 'Chief jeerleader' will be Limbaugh, not Palin (video)
MATTHEWS: There's a role open right now. It's the Chief Jeerleader...
HOWARD FINEMAN: It won't be out of the Hill at all. It's going to be Rush Limbaugh, and what's left of the conservative commentariat. They are going to be in charge of this party until the Republicans begin to get their act together.
Being a pundit Rush doesn't directly rise and fall with the fortunes of Republicans in Washington. Like all talkers Rush' main weapon is his rhetoric. Talkers however aren't expected to deliver or held accountable to their promises the same way a campaigning politician is. Which means pundits, as long as they have a voice can remain relevant and arguably stronger when they are in the minority.
But Rush to is also being marginalised by the GOP powerbase.
Watch Rush Limbaugh being hailed after sweeping 94' GOP victory
In Part 2, I will list how the GOP has tried to distance themselves from Rush Limbaugh after their defeats in 2008. An astounding reversal from the Republican glory and lauding of Rush in 94'.