Over the next several months, The Washington Post will examine the Republicans from multiple perspectives — the party’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles — as a prelude to the 2010 midterm elections…

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008 and faced criticism that he was not conservative enough on fiscal issues, spoke more critically of those attempting to enforce orthodoxy. “How pure is pure? Who gets to make that decision?” he said. “Who is the great one who establishes for us the 10 Commandments [that say] you can’t deviate from these positions or you’re a RINO [Republican In Name Only]?”…

Indiana’s Daniels said it is appropriate that voters put the Republicans in the penalty box and that the party must prove itself before those voters will entrust them with power again. “People are going to want to know — first of all, that you paid the price for the things you did wrong; secondly, that you learned some lessons,” he said. “Then they’re going to want to look and see [and ask], ‘Got something new for me?’ ”

When that question comes, will Republicans have the right answers?