It's basically a given that the president's party will lose seats after his first midterm (except when 9/11 happens). So let's not get our hopes up. But Republicans really wanna try to prove that bit of conventional wisdom wrong.
The scorched earth style of opposition does indeed work at dragging down Obama and the Democrats' numbers. But it also keeps approval of Republicans down, and "generic Republicans" still do not poll better than Democrats. They're probably poised to pick up 15 to 25 House seats next year, especially if Democrats again don't bother to get the youth vote out and if the "recovery" continues to be jobless. But the Republican were also supposed to hold on to an upstate New York district they've represented for 150 years, until the tea parties, Sarah Palin, and the Club for Growth got involved.
Maybe the excommunication of moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava was an aberration, and the grownups will rein in the activists and run electable Chris Christie types. But if they do, the disgruntled anti-authoritarian Glenn Beck acolytes will rebel.
Already, the Club for Growth—which threw a lot of money at NY-23 and in doing so gave the seat to the Democrats—has endorsed Marco Rubio for Senate in Florida. Rubio is the conservative challenging popular moderate governor Charlie Crist. As governor, Crist enjoys approval ratings in the high 60s among Democrats, independents, and Republicans. But Marco Rubio enjoys the support of George Will, The National Review, and the aforementioned very wealthy Club for Growth.
Rubio is, at the moment, polling below the likely Democratic nominee, which is a feat, because no one knows who the Democratic nominee is, as a race against Crist was not expected to be winnable.
Meanwhile, out in broken California, the Republicans have decided to launch a real challenge to Senator Barbara Boxer for the first time since she took office. With Boxer facing rising unfavorable numbers, former Hewlett-Packard executive McCain campaign insider Carly Fiorina decided to throw her hat in the ring. Fiorina has a lot of money, good name recognition, and might appeal to moderates and women who are tired of Boxer. So, of course, True Conservatives are beginning to rally behind a crazy man named Chuck DeVore, an Assemblyman who is currently tied with Fiorina in the polls.
What sort of Republican is this DeVore character? Let's look at something he wrote last week in an Amazon review.
American Progressives and European fascist theorists admired each other and exchanged ideas. From William James to Georges Sorel, from eugenics to the militarization of society ("War on Poverty" anyone? It was William James who penned the "Moral Equivalent of War" in 1906), both the American left and European fascists sought to remake society using crises to urge action to justify bigger government at the expense of individual liberty.
Ronald Reagan had it right in 1981, when he remarked that Roosevelt's New Deal had much in common with Mussolini's fascism, including frequent words of praise from Roosevelt's brain trust directed towards Italy in the 1930s.
Good luck becoming a Senator from California, sir!
This is all sort of like if Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy had been to run clones of himself in all 50 states, instead of diverting money to Democrats who actually had chances to win. So there are basically two end games:
- Republican infighting leads to unelectable candidates losing what should've been easy pickups across the board.
- Apocalyptic death cult masquerading as Republican party makes the usual midterm gains, Congress promptly shuts down federal government again, Obama impeached for lying under oath about where he was born.
It's a good thing none of the tangible benefits of health care reform are scheduled to go into effect until 2013! Otherwise the Death Panel lines would be unbearable come 2011.