Lost in the news media's ecstasy over Obama's victory in the midst of a terribly weak, job-starved economy is the political reality behind his narrow popular vote margin, the GOP's still muscular House majority and its rising strength among the nation's governorships.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out press releases the day after the election that they had "succeeded last night in rolling back the [GOP's] Tea Party wave of 2010. In fact, they had defeated "only three members of the Tea Party Caucus," election tracker Stuart Rothenberg noted in his post-election analysis.
The Democrats were making preposterous pre-election claims of winning 25 seats and taking back the House, but they never came close. In the '08 election, Obama's party gained 21 House seats. They gained only eight this year, leaving the GOP in firm control of the people's chamber.
Democrats had a net gain of two seats in the Senate, winning all of the close tossup races in a year when the Republicans had expected to at least tighten their margin in the upper body. Now, Majority Leader Harry Reid rules the Senate with a 55 to 45 seat majority.
This means that nothing passes the Senate without the hard-to-get 60-votes needed to take up any administration legislation.
But the really big, untold story on election night is that the Republicans will be in control of 30 state houses next year. That's "the highest number for either party in more than a decade," says the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and a sign of the GOP's continued strength in the states.
Four of the five previous presidents before Obama were all governors: Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush. And now Republicans head into 2013 with a long lineup of politically ambitious chief executives who are eyeing the presidency, including Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, John Kasich of Ohio, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, among several others.
The large pool of GOP governors, including many in the largest electoral states -- Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and Florida, among others - means they will be able to rebuild stronger political ground organizations for their party. And the new crop of Republican leaders have begun talking about playing a stronger role in the GOP's political future.