SOLEMN VOWS

Imagine it is late May 1945. The American and Soviet armies are racing toward Berlin and the Third Reich is in its last days. Its leaders are busy destroying evidence of their atrocities or killing themselves. The German army's goal is no longer to fight but to avoid the Soviets and surrender to the Americans. Imagine now that just days before Hitler dies and Berlin falls, Die Fuhrer takes to the radio and tells the world "You know, if we win this war we are going to burn your countries to the ground. You're all screwed. Mark my words."

That didn't happen. But it would have been pretty funny, right? You would almost be tempted to pat him on the head and say "Aww, that's so cute! 'If we win this war'! Good one, Adolf!" Decimated and in the final stages of its complete collapse, well…it would be somewhere between delusional and comical to hear the Germans talking about what would happen if they won the war.

Now. Watch this video and tell me you don't want to pinch Congressman Louie Gohmert's cheeks when he talks about what the GOP is going to do to the stimulus legislation if they re-take the majority in 2010. Then, brushing up on addition and subtraction if necessary, check the math required for that to happen.

Oh, Louie. You card!

Every time I look at the 2010 Senate races I have to stop and give myself a lecture about hubris. Then I waste a lot of time trying to figure out if my analysis is biased. I try pretending that I'm a GOP strategist hired to put a good spin on his party's odds. I make up fantastical scenarios in which voters do things completely at odds with the last three decades worth of elections. And none of it is enough to convince me that the GOP can keep the status quo in 2010 let alone win back any of its nine-seat deficit.

Eighteen months is a long time. Who knows that will happen between now and then. Perhaps President Obama will do something awful or fail so spectacularly that the country will run screaming from the Democratic Party with a vigor we can scarcely imagine today. In order for the GOP to win ~10 Senate seats and about 80 in the House, I'm thinking Obama would have to turn our nuclear arsenal over to North Korea. And triple everyone's taxes. And strangle a puppy during the State of the Union. Without going into all the details (which will come in good time, for those who care) consider the following:

  • Four GOP incumbents are retiring, three of them in states (MO, FL, and OH) in which the other Senator is a Democrat. In contrast, one Democrat is retiring in a state, Delaware, in which the GOP might not even offer a challenger.
  • Two states the GOP considers a slam-dunk, Kansas and Oklahoma, will be contested by term limited and wildly popular Democratic Governors Kathleen Sebelius and Brad Henry. And the Kansas seat is open (Brownback retirement).
  • Roland Burris is likely to be ancient history by January 2010, ending GOP hopes that the candidate will be so terrible that they can pull off an improbable Illinois win (a la Peter Fitzgerald vs. Carol Mosley Braun).
  • The usual GOP fantasy scenarios in which they make high-profile races in California and New York competitive ("We have really good challengers this time, we swear!") are about as likely as me waking up tomorrow with stigmata.
  • Like Layne Staley, whose obituary was famously prepared and kept on file at Spin Magazine for over three years, four Republican incumbents have political epitaphs at the ready: Burr (who hasn't slept since the November election), Specter (Ed Rendell + Cancer = Bad), Bunning, and David "More Hookers, Please!" Vitter.
  • Two additional GOP incumbents are under heavy retirement speculation: Tom Coburn and Judd Gregg, the latter stating that he will "probably not" stand for re-election after the Cabinet appointment fiasco.

    Maybe things will change. Maybe every remotely competitive seat will have an outstanding Republican challenger who runs a great campaign. Maybe the Democrats will blow their existing advantage through sheer ineptitude. Maybe I'll look back at this post after a Red Tidal Wave of Awesomeness on November 2, 2010 and feel embarrassed that I short-changed the GOP juggernaut. Or maybe we'll wake up on November 3 with 63 Democrats in the Senate, wondering aloud what exactly it's going to take for the GOP to get the message.

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  • 6 Responses to “SOLEMN VOWS”

    1. FMguru Says:

      Once you're done with that, take a moment to consider the GOP 2012 Presidential field. This year's crop was so bad they turned to coma vicitm Fred Thompson to energize the field and save them before giving the keys to a man they all hated. With no electable vice-president, no war-winning generals, and a shrinking Senate rump made up of aging Southern white guys, their 2012 farm team is built around a handful of Governors – and the next three years are going to be just about the worst period imaginable to be a governor. Cutting popular programs and raising taxes to maintain fiscal solvency in a near-depression with an electorate promised that they could have their cake and eat it, too. No wonder Sibelius and Napolitano are making beelines for the cabinet.

      Jindal, Pawlenty, Barbour, Sanford, and Palin and going to have extreme difficulties holding onto their jobs over the next three years, much less building shining records and reputations for a shot at the big prize. The fact that they're all engaging in a contest to turn down money for their states' hardest-hit citizens is just icing on the cake.

    2. Dustin Says:

      If the economy is still in the crapper I could see the GOP taking the House (not so much the Senate).

    3. Ed Says:

      Hmm.

      Well, I think the Democrats will get a little bit longer of a grace period than that. If the economy doesn't improve measurably I think they'll lose some seats and be on notice for 2012, at which point they'll lose the majority.

      If things get worse, though, they could lose it in 2010. If things actually improve, losin the majority simply isn't going to happen and the 2012 presidential race is going to be the biggest non-event since 1984.

    4. Heqit Says:

      Re: Kansas — Isn't Sebelius being considered for H&HS? How would that affect the Kansas Senate race?

    5. Ed Says:

      Being considered, but I doubt she'll take it. She has her eye on the Senate seat and she knows she can win it. Tiahrt is the only "name" Republican and she's certainly not afraid of his dumb ass.

      If she decides that elections aren't worth the trouble and takes the HHS job (or some other appointment) then the seat is 99.9% likely to be uncompetitive.

    6. Displaced Says:

      "Red Tidal Wave of Awesomeness"

      Is that a Commie wave or a Republican wave? lulzzz