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October 03, 2006

One More Point: We're Probably Going To Lose Anyway those who think a bit of electoral punishment is in order are probably going to get their wish anyway. The two most likely possibilities are a fairly big Democratic win or a narrow Democratic win. A narrow Republican win is a distant third, even with improving numbers.

In 1994, a tsunami swept Republicans into power in Congress, and since then, the GOP has been losing those seats little by little (with the occasional small gain). It was the initial strength of that win -- having such a big cushion -- that's pretty much kept the GOP in power; bit by bit that cushion has been lost.

Anyone thinking of sitting on their hands this Nov. 7 should ask herself-- "How big of a cushion do I want to give the Democrats?" A very small Democrat win could result in the punishment-followed-by-rebuilding-followed-by-greater-conservative-fidelity scenario, with Republicans having a chance to win back Congress in two or four years.

But a large Democratic win might keep the Democrats in power for quite a while. Even if we win net seats for eight, ten, or twelve years, we might be in the position the Democrats are in now -- slowly taking back seats, but never taking quite enough to actually reestablish control.

Even if all conservatives turn out the way they did in 2002 or 2004, it's still likely Congress will be lost, because independents will be voting for Democrats, probably 60-40 or even 70-30.

So the loss is pretty likely, even with conservatives holding their noses. The question is whether it will be the sort of loss that can be recovered from in two years, or the sort of loss that will take twelve years to undo.

Good legislation gets passed in the House, where a narrow majority is enough to pass such legislation. It dies in the Senate, where there is a bare Republican majority, and of course not anything resembling a conservative majority. Our dissatisfaction with Congress stems chiefly, then, from the fact that there aren't enough Republicans in the Senate, not that there are too many. Punishing Coburn to get back at Chafee will hardly help matters. (And, again, Chafee would be just delighted to be a Big Important Swing Vote who gets interviewed on Chris Matthews every three days, to announce his decision on how much taxes should be raised or how many Gitmo prisoners should be immediately be freed.)

It's bad, but it could be worse. Those who say it couldn't be worse are forgetting about 1992, when many also said "Clinton couldn't be any worse."

Well, you know, for all of George H.W. Bush's flaws, Clinton was just a tad worse, wasn't he?

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posted by Ace at 02:23 PM

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