THE GOP’S ‘TIME-HONORED PRINCIPLES’…. Shortly after the election, Sen. John Ensign (Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) said issues such as abortion and gay rights should not be at the core of the party.

There’s some disagreement on this point.

The Republican brand is still alive and well, Rep. Mike Pence said on Fox News Sunday.

When asked by Chris Wallace what “conservative solutions” the GOP would bring to their current minority-party status, Pence said social issues like “the sanctity of marriage” will remain the backbone of the Republican platform.

“You build those conservative solutions, Chris, on the same time-honored principles of limited government, a belief in free markets, in the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage,” Pence said.

Pence will soon take over the #3 slot in the House Republican caucus, where he will be able to help shape the party’s legislative agenda, such as it is.

These folks really never learn, do they?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.