They may have taken the House and won governor's races across the country, but they didn't take the Senate, losing winnable races in Colorado, Nevada, and Delaware. All the candidates were associated with the tea party, and all of them were pushed by South Carolina senator Jim DeMint. (DeMint aides point out that they weren't the ones who decided to plow millions of dollars into California.)
And boy, do Republican senators not like him.
A Politico article lines up all the veiled jabs. First, there's Lindsay Graham, the more centrist senator from South Carolina, who famously does not get along with DeMint:
Candidates matter ... It was a good night for Republicans but it could have been a better one. We left some on the table.
Former senate majority leader, and current lobbyist Trent Lott:
We did not nominate our strongest candidates. ... With those three [more moderate candidates in Nevada, Colorado, and Delaware who lost in the primaries] we would have won and been sitting at 50.
A Republican "high-profile senator":
It’s like you’re on the five-yard line ready to score and the quarterback calls the play and some member of your team tackles one of your members and keeps you from scoring ... In the Senate, we had one senator, with almost no following within the caucus, engaged in DeMint-style tactics and kept us from realizing our potential.
DeMint now has company; the victories of intra-party insurgents Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron John in Wisconsin, and Marco Rubio of Florida means that the tea party has more support in the Senate. And what's more, the big benefit of winning the Senate is control of the committees, which, as we now know, DeMint doesn't believe in.
GOP Senators fight over failure [Politico]