For the newly empowered congressional Republicans, now comes the hard part.
While Tuesday's election gave them the Senate and tightened their hold on the House, GOP lawmakers might have complicated their ability to break governmental gridlock by failing to include a positive agenda with their relentlessly anti-Obama campaign.
To be sure, a number of top Republicans have recently listed a number of areas, from tax and trade reform to a broad-scale energy strategy and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, in which they hope to take action.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will become majority leader, listed tax reform and trade Wednesday as potential areas for cooperation with the White House. Other Republicans have mentioned adopting a broad-scale energy policy and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
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These will presumably come up when Obama meets Friday with the bipartisan congressional leadership. But the GOP is divided on so many issues that, even with majorities in both houses, it will need to first unite its own ranks before it can reach out to the president in a way that has been lacking the past six years.
And though many Tuesday winners noted that voters want the two parties to work together, the extent of Republican victories might embolden the GOP tea party faction to push a more aggressive agenda rather than seek compromise with Obama.
That would be a mistake. As James Baker, the former White House chief of staff and secretary of state, said on CNN last Sunday, unless Republicans make a sincere effort to cooperate with the president, "they will pay a price for it in the next election."
Baker also said Obama needs "to schmooze and make a concentrated and concerted effort to achieve cooperation with the other side," something he, too, has been reluctant to do.
But with the president having contested his last election and his ability to lead Congress severely reduced, the stakes are far greater for Republicans. Their hope of regaining the White House might rest to some extent on their ability to show they can govern as well as they score political points.
As Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, recently told The Wall Street Journal: "It's a put up or shut up moment for us."
With control of both houses, he said, the party will have no excuse for failing to take steps to spur economic growth via tax reform. He added that a key test will be whether the Export-Import Bank is scrapped when its authority comes up for renewal in June.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said GOP victories offer an opportunity for a joint House-Senate strategy. If he has his way, Republicans will start 2015 with a joint Senate-House retreat to craft a unified agenda.
Nothing so epitomizes the Republican Party's dilemma as its repeated promises to "repeal and replace" Obama's health care law.
In a rare moment of candor, McConnell recently antagonized conservatives by saying it's unrealistic to expect complete repeal of "the single worst piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years."
"It would take 60 votes in the Senate," McConnell told Neil Cavuto of Fox News. "No one thinks we're going to have 60 Republicans. And it would take a presidential signature. And no one thinks we're going to get that."
McConnell has said he'll try to attack some of the law's "most unpopular parts" with amendments to must-pass funding bills that would eliminate the tax on medical devices and the individual mandate.
But the pressures he faces were underscored by statements from two prospective presidential candidates, senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, urging a vote on total repeal.
Still, the more time Republicans spend renewing fights with Obama over Obamacare, the less likely they'll be able to develop a cooperative relationship that can help pass measures needing bipartisan support, such as tax reform.
Longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy warned on NBC's "Meet the Press" last month that the Republicans need to avoid what he called "grievance politics" and concentrate on economic measures to help the middle class. Otherwise, he said, "we're going to blow the Republican opportunity in the long run."
Carl P. Leubsdorf, is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News.