State leaders will never be able to control what bills stalwart legislators introduce, but they can manage which ones come to the full legislature for a vote.
House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said they're trying to reduce legislation that unnecessarily angers women, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, a nod to the fact that conservative whites will eventually lose their dominance in the state.
But then, he said the party had already been diligent in that regard.
"I think we have done a good job reasonably in staying away from issues .. . that have a hard edge with different demographic groups because Georgia is a great big state," he said two days after the election.
Some people may disagree.
The new reality includes the realization that demographic forces are squeezing out whites. Most observers credit the population sea change with Democrats' success in the race for the presidency and Congress in a year when economics and an unpopular health law suggested they would do much worse.
In Georgia, Republicans picked up some legislative seats, just barely crossing the two-thirds, supermajority threshold in the Senate but falling one vote shy in the House. Controlling a supermajority in both chambers would mean never having to negotiate with Democrats to pass anything, including constitutional amendments or veto overrides.
"This election was never about any particular numerical goal," Ralston said.
He could still get the two-thirds if the House's lone independent, Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville, joins the GOP out spite toward the Democrats for targeting him for defeat.
Ironically, without the need to pick up Democratic votes, it becomes easier for Republicans to pass bills these groups view as antagonistic to them.
Whether or not the Georgia leaders get a full, legislative supermajority, the national party has lost two presidential elections in a row and failed to take the U.S. Senate that was so nearly theirs. That's a sobering reality that something isn't working, Ralston said.
"I'm not much into morning-after quarterbacking, but this is going to have to be many mornings-after quarterbacking and reflection on what we as a party are going to have to do to be competitive," he said.
The speaker plays a critical role. Since the state Senate took power away from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, control of that chamber has been diffused among an ever-changing cadre of GOP senators. As a result, only Ralston and his lieutenants have the consolidated control needed to stop legislation.
What kinds of legislation might be halted?
Rep. Stacey Abrams, the House Democratic leader from Atlanta, said if given the job of political consultant for the Republicans, she would advise cooling it with legislation designed to thwart people. Stopping activities after people become accustomed to them isn't going to be popular with those folks.
"Winning in the 21st Century requires a broad coalition and has to be respectful of age, gender and ethnicity," she said.
Whether it's immigrants who now have to prove their citizenship to vote, drive or work when they didn't before, or women seeing new hurdles to exercising a right to abortion on demand that the U.S. Supreme Court said they have, various groups feel their freedoms and economic security are threatened by the white men at the top of the Republican Party.
The impression is that conservatives are trying to turn back the clock to a time when people "knew their place." Yet, these are the same conservatives who used to predict that the Soviet Union would collapse when citizens there rose up to demand their personal freedoms.
Abrams, who makes a living as a tax attorney, says it's when ideology overcomes dispassionate pragmatism that gets the Grand Old Party into trouble.
"I think by and large, ideology has very little place in politics," she said.
The majority of voters want to see government solve problems rather than influence behaviors, she argues. Besides, it's impossible to find an ideology that a majority will support, she said.
"I can't find two who believe the same thing, much less 9.8 million Georgians," she said.
For David Ralston, who is also a successful attorney and is as savvy a politician as Abrams and capable of similar observations, applying that strategy can be harder than visualizing it in a conversation with a reporter. It comes down to individual bills, which to advance and which to bury in committee.
He doesn't expect to do the job alone.
"We're going to have to have some serious discussions about where we're going to go as a party," he said.
That discussion comes just as soon as everyone on the right has gotten their complaints about the perceived weaknesses of Mitt Romney and his campaign out of their system.
The House GOP caucus assembles Monday at 10 a.m. to elect officers for the next two years, and it's certain what the No. 1 topic will be now that last week's election returns have demonstrated that 2008 was the start of a trend fueled by a demographic tsunami that will soon sweep over Georgia.
"We're either going to keep up with it as a party, or we're not," Ralston said. "If the result is that we're not, then we won't be in power very long."