This comment on a recent Reason.com article I was reading summed things up nicely:
"Point being, why didn't these groups organize themselves to oppose TARP and the bailouts when they happened, instead of waiting until a D was in office, and then rebelling (initially at least) over a very specific program he proposed to use those funds for?
It's a pointless thought exercise, but I've always imagined that if McCain was elected, and proposed the exact same programs as Obama, the whole thing wouldn't have blown up. It would have remained as grumbling amongst the punditry and blogosphere, instead of blossoming into a full-blown movement. That's just my opinion, and it's worthless, but it influences how I view the TP in broad strokes (there are plenty of individual TPers who I've met who would be hardcore libertarians; I'm not trying to make a blanket statement about all of them)."
I agree with everything about this statement. The libertarians did get a shot in the arm from the tea party's focus on economic issues (but not much else from the tea party), enough to where libertarian views are in the GOP primary like never before. The mainstream GOP rode the tea party wave to victory in the House. The moderate Democrats got a surprisingly hawkish charismatic president who, while he didn't get a single payer system, passed what is basically Nixon's version of healthcare. And what moderate Democrat doesn't love to look tough on defense and cut sly compromises behind closed doors?
Honestly the only political group that gained very little from Obama's election was true blue liberals.