Now the dust and tumult has settled down perhaps one can give a more reasoned assessment of what the mid term election result might mean for the GOP. Certainly they 'dished' the Democrats but in doing so it will be interesting to see how the creative tension that exists between the Tea Party movement and the Republican establishment plays out.
Certainly the Tea Party movement was a significant factor in the Republican success but it is fascinating the parallel that can be drawn between them and mainstream Republicans and ACT and National. Tea Party activists and Actoids tend to be ideologues utterly convinced of the logic of their arguments and for whom compromise is almost tantamount to treason. Tea Party activists are suspicious of Republicans much the same way as Actoids are suspicious of Nationalists. I suspect some of them hate mainstream Republicans more than they do the Democrats. Same same here and Redbaiter falls into that camp.
But while the Tea Party movement enjoyed considerable success with major victories in the Senate elections in Kentucky, Florida and elsewhere their inexperience and preference to put their weight behind 'true believers' who later turned out to be electoral liabilities in Delaware (where their candidate was a witch); in Nevada; in Colorado and in Alaska (where the Sara Palin endorsed Joe Miller was beaten by the now Independent Republican Senator whom he beat in the Republican Primary) arguably cost the Republicans control of the Senate.
There has to be some maturing in the Tea Party movement and a working accommodation established between them and mainstream Republicans to avoid their splitting off and going it alone as a third party movement. That doesn't work in a FPP environment and would serve only to entrench the Democrats in government.
Equally too the Republican establishment has to accept that the Tea Party movement reflects the desire of many Americans to roll back unsustainable budget deficits and get out of their lives . Republicans might say that but their track record when they held they levers of power does not inspire confidence. The Tea Party movement can be characterised as the conscience of the Republican Party. Many would argue that a revitalised ACT can fulfill the same role in NZ politics.
One other comment. The election saw the decimation of the so called 'Blue Dog' Democrats (the Democrat conservative wing). Their numbers in Congress were more than halved to just 25. The Democrats are now totally dominated and beholden to their Liberal wing. Obama may make noises about consensus and compromise but the reality is that is all smoke and mirrors. The Democrats will go full steam on the George Sorus agenda.
This presents great opportunity for the 'new' new right in US politics. Get it right and the prize is theirs. Getting it wrong is not an option.