And what do you mean by "the important role to play" for the GOP?
Trying to turn the Democrats' better fiscal record into a weakness by harping on the debt over and over, most of which is attributable to Reagan and G.W. Bush.
The important role the GOP plays used to be to warn us of entrenched interests (it wasn't always the case that the GOP was the more corrupt of the 2 parties), to champion individual rights (the social libertarian wing), and to make our regulatory state more efficient (rather than stock it with people who want to dismantle it).
The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and pollution cap-and-trade are two examples of GOP answers to national problems. They are both good because of their incrementalism and innovative use of the status quo - something the GOP used to be better at than the Democratic Party.