I'd be interested in hearing contrary viewpoints, but it seems to me that Republicans took a terrific beating in the legislative session. By scrapping the usual budget process, they put pressure on themselves to deliver on their own plan, then they couldn't deliver. Lange's outburst made them look bad, then they looked even worse for the way they dumped him.
Most fundamentally, Republicans seemed to hitch their fortunes to two nonstarters: opposing enforcement of tax laws and permanent tax relief. Whether the Department of Revenue really needs more employees is a technical question I am not competent to answer, but I know how it looked. It looked like the GOP was endorsing fat-cat tax avoidance. Whether it's fair or not, that's a label nobody needs.
On permanent tax relief, I basically agree with Republicans that permanent tax cuts are better policy than one-time rebates. But it's not a deal breaker. We will all get decent tax relief this year; what we get in two years will depend on who is in office, how the economy is cooking, and what the state's needs are. That would be true no matter what this Legislature did.
Finally, Schweitzer is cleaning up on press indicating that after all the shouting he pretty much got what he wanted out of the session. He never seemed to doubt that he would. That hurts Republicans where it really hurts -- right in their vanity.