1) Those who live by the sword also die by the sword.
Not all of us are lucky enough to die in bed. The Republicans have been winning by very narrow margins at the polls. This time they lost by very narrow margins. Should they be surprised? No.
2) The base is not enough
The Republicans made a strategic decision to only (mostly) address their base. They were almost forced to do this because their base did not 'play well with others'. To move on issues that their based did not support was done at the risk of losing the base. This has worked well, until charges of corruption and dereliction of duty (by fiscal conservatives) caused a fraction of their base to revolt (see point #1).
3) The attainment of absolute power does not guarantee future absolute power.
The Republicans hoped to stay in power via sophisticated grass-root efforts, district re-engineering, and control of the levers of government. The result seems to have followed the classic line, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely". A thing most telling to me is that corruption of the polling booth technology seems to be most connected with the Republican political machine. The Republicans seem to be gifted with the motivation and opportunity for election machine shinagins. Does this mean that the Democrats are not smart enough (opportunity) or aren't desperate enough (motivation) to do the same? I don't know.
4) Fear is not the only motivator
Fear can motivate many people. People also have a brain in their heads, recognizing that there is more to the world than just fear.
The Republicans lost supreme government power because of (according to the polls) a perception of corruption. There are lessons here for the in-coming Democratic party powers. There is definitely a lesson for those people running for President in 2008. I sincerely hope that we are leaving behind a period of political imperialism and fear-mongering. This is what I would like for Christmas.