In many ways, it was the best-case scenario for the Republican Party.

They swept the House in dramatic fashion, and while they didn’t quite win the Senate, they got the next best thing: Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE is still going to be the chief spokesman for congressional Democrats.

It is now the conventional wisdom that the demise of the hated Republican establishment was overstated. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Reddit hires first lobbyists Senate panel approves bill compelling researchers to ‘hack’ DHS MORE and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE cruised to easy victories, and those two are the best examples of the best of the Republican establishment.

While most eyes are going to be focused on the shenanigans of Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE and Jim DeMint, if you care at all about effective legislating, Portman and Blunt will be the true stars of this class.

Historians will pore over this election in fine detail for generations. The Tea Party will be mentioned in the same breath as other protest movements in American political history. Are they the new Know-Nothings or the new Progressives? Are they like the Populists of the late 19th century, or are they more like Perotistas of the 1990s?

Time will tell how durable the Tea Party stays as a force in our body politic.

They didn’t have that great of a night, in all candor.

Christine O’Donnell was creamed. Sharron Angle couldn’t beat the most unpopular politician in the country. Joe Miller looks like he will be the first Senate nominee to lose to a write-in candidate in 50 years.

Sure, Rand Paul won, but he won chiefly because his opponent, Jack Conway, ran the most harebrained, stupid commercial in the history of mankind, questioning Paul’s Christian faith. For Conway (a Roman Catholic) to question the religious beliefs of Rand Paul (a Presbyterian), in a state that is pretty overwhelmingly Protestant, was boneheaded at best. It was also politically disastrous for Conway.

Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE and Pat Toomey both made moves to the center after they got their respective nominations, and while they both can be claimed as Tea Party Republicans, they were also elected Republicans before they were Tea Party darlings.

Republicans who spent the majority of their time defining their differences with the Democrats did very well last night. The Republicans who spent the majority of their time attacking other Republicans didn’t do as well.

There is a lesson here that should be easy for all to see, but will be willfully ignored by some. Republicans have to hang together for the next two years, or they will most likely be hanged separately by the voters in 2012.

John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE are plenty conservative. They were also the chief architects of the strategy that brought Republicans this remarkable victory last night. They will have their hands full in trying to keep all the new cats together.

At the end of the day, Republicans will be judged on their ability to keep their promises to change the direction of the country. But to be able to keep their promises, Republicans will have to work together. United they will be powerful and effective. Divided they will be back in the minority in two short years.



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