I had actually hoped with the 2010 midterms the Republicans had found their method of solidifying the disparate groups by having a unified message focusing primarily on fiscal and governmental conservatism. It's the portoin of the platform that generally most of the various groups within the base like to some degree and is least objectable to any particular group. This is different from the Defense and Social aspects of the platform that appeal more heavily to some parts of the base but act as a deterrent for other parts of the base when it's focused on.
I do'nt think it's an argument of moderate vs extreme. I think the idiotic "War on Women" meme and comments on rape that some of the candidates made and similar type things were more damaging then the notion of not raising taxes and cutting spending.