"Both GOP congressional leaders emerged with enhanced reputations," concluded Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal today.
And depending on who you ask, he is absolutely correct.
But the debt deal disappointed many and outraged more among the Tea Party activists and the GOP grassroots.
At a minimum the leadership of both House and Senate have to work to sell why the deal represented the best that could be had, and crucially, the promise that if 2012 brings GOP control of the Senate and the presidency, 2013 will bring the very sort of deep structural reforms that the grassroots want and the country needs.
Selling this point of view will require appointees to the new "supercommittee" who will work with House and Senate leadership to communicate with country and not just negotiate in the caucus room.
It will also take at least four new Senate seats in GOP hands to put Mitch McConnell's many talents to work in the job of Majority Leader.
It would take 13 pick-ups to smash the hard-left's filibuster in the upper chamber which would allow McConnell, Speaker Boehner and a new president the ability to tackle the fiscal/defense crisis without the obstruction that stalled George W. Bush's push to fix Social Security in 2005, but given the complete inability of the Democrats to govern and their spectacular failures on the economy, that number of Senate seat pick-ups in 2012 is not impossible.
Start, however, with the obvious GOP candidates to replace a Democratic senator, and spend this August getting to know them and indeed sending them some help from the ice cream fund. $10, $25, $50 or $100 matters enormously in getting organized and in the field for the 15 months ahead.
Here's my list of Senate candidates to support. My priorities reflect a combination of favorable assessment of the candidate's ideology, abilities, experience and the closeness of the race in which they are engaged. I think the best dollar spent is the one that goes to tipping a close race towards a great candidate. The best approach is to pick a few of the candidates (all of them?) and send them each some early support:
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