Well, the latter point was obvious when Michelle Bachmann was not given a leadership position earlier. And, of course, for loyal readers of this blog, if there are any, they know that the Republican leadership is now in process of disciplining the insurgents of the Tea Party backgrounds. These insurgents represent a threat to the "regulars" who control the Republican Party, just as the Blue Dog Democrats represented a threat to the "regulars" who control the Democratic Party - and we saw what happened to most of those Democrats in the last election. They are gone, baby, gone - and good riddance from the point of view of the regulars - while Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are back in control! My guess is that the Republican Party will put up a weak candidate for president in 2012, someone with some identification with the Tea Party, so when that candidate loses, the regulars can say: "You see, be realistic. The American people don't want insurgents, they don't want 'radicals'. They want us, the regulars." Which is, of course, Obama's message since the Democrats' "defeat" in the last election: "You see don't you, that Americans want bipartisanship and I can do that."
There you have it, American politics in a nutshell. Smoke and mirrors, just smoke and mirrors.