First and foremost, treating the last election as anything but a technical victory is a bold-faced lie. The Dems got out their voters (and some questionable voters) and the GOP did not do as well as 2008. Period. Out of nearly 120 million votes cast and if 450,000 in four states had flipped or 750,000 voters in those four states that voted McCain in 2008 had come out, we'd be talking President-elect Romney.
Romney underperformed with the GOP for two reasons I can see:
1) Some people still have a problem with his Mormon religion. Myself, when he is running against Hussein Obama, even Beelzebub himself should get some consideration. But some people didn't see it that way.
2) Romney was too liberal. A New Englander who signed a state bill that looked a lot like ObamaTax is suspect. Too Establishment. The Ron Paul folks never got over the fact that Ron Paul's flapping jaws made him unelectable.
Add to that the fact that the GOP relied too much on the "air war" and forgot the "ground game" and that left a lot of GOP voters home. The GOP had poor IT and that further crippled their ground game.
As for the Tea Party, its time for them to grow up and get organized. At very minimum, very have to coalesce around a spokesperson. the fact the Tea partry was so grassroots left them with no spokesperson. Sop when the corrupt MSM painted them as some types of religious wackos the Tea party did not answer. That was OK in 2010 where the elections were diffuse Congressional and state elections. Now they need a strong spokesperson who can rebut they lies of the MSM and Democrats.
This spokesperson could also function to keep Republicans from trying to co-opt the Tea party into social issues. The Tea Party issued a manifesto stating its interest is PURELY fiscal but too many people ignored it. I see this response.
Tea Party Spokesperson:
"Ms. Bachmann holds acceptable fiscal positions but the Tea Party does not support her social issue stance." Or something to that extent.
Tea Partiers may as individuals have social issue preferences. Everybody does. But those preferences must be divorced from the Tea Party imprimatur. That is the function of a strong spokesperson.