Who exactly is waiting in the wings to lead them in that struggle? Young guns like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio have a chance to take over the party, but their Republican generation is more conservative, and this election's outcome demonstrates that "more conservative" likely isn't the way to go. Romney's standing clearly improved after he Etch-a-Sketched away his conservatism at the first debate, and the most conservative Senate candidates lost in places like Indiana and Missouri. Turning to the right would seem to only hurt their chances.
Of course, if the economy still stinks, Democrats would not be able to blame it on Bush eight years hence. I suppose it's possible that Republicans would double down on obstructionism and let us fall over the fiscal cliff. If they try that tactic and the economy still grows, like it should, Democrats would get all the credit. Their only real hope is that the economy is still sputtering along for four more years.