Already government officials are calling the new Republicans in the House "rabid" and Harry Reid still predicts they will fade away. The Washington establishment wish the Tea Party would cower from the slurs and fade away, but they won't. I've now officially stopped even acknowledging the problems with some Tea Partiers -- as a whole they are much better for the country than the political class.
I support them warts and all, mainly because they're shaking up the status quo, and most of them genuinely demand an end to the spending insanity, at least. For the greatest part, they've been consistent and they've hit the target regarding what's wrong with both parties. The pressure they are putting on Republicans to put up or shut up is sorely needed. We'll see how Boehner and McConnell react - it ought to be fun.
If the TPers do as I suspet and keep the pressure on both parties, the Democrats are going to get vicious, but at a time when their popularity is falling, so it will do them no good to go on the attack -- and it will do the Republican establishment no good to think they can co-opt them.
I foresee a strong possibility of a third party, although not in 2012. The Republicans have one more chance, but this is the last.