Haha, well, I think what you're describing was accurate for the last 20-30 years or so. Although Republicans' methods have been leading up to this, we're seeing enough to suggest that even they realize that things have gone too far. They were already getting hammered by the Tea Party a couple cycles ago, and I think Trump took the Republican leadership off guard as much as anyone. After the election, they didn't really know how to handle this guy: he was ostensibly on their "team," but it was hard to be sure how true that really was. They weren't going to rock the boat in case he turned out to be popular, but once his approval ratings tanked, I think they feel safer coming out as more moderate.
And who knows? They may actually be able to thread the needle: seem less crazy and more dignified than Trump, and still have an R after your name. That could be a path to success in a lot of red and purple parts of the country, especially if the Democrats manage to run someone forgettable.