The Republican’s up 18 points in a swing state that went for Obama last year by six. The incumbent Democratic governor of New Jersey is in the fight of his life despite outspending his opponent three to one and having the president stump for him personally. Gallup’s generic ballot, at the moment, looks eerily similar to how it looked before the GOP tidal wave in 1994.

All meaningless.

So even if political winds start blowing harder behind them and even if they can capitalize on Democratic missteps, Republicans still will have a long way to go over the next year because of their party’s own fundamental problems — divisions over the path forward, the lack of a national leader and a shrinking base in a changing nation.

The GOP would overcome none of those hurdles should Republican Bob McDonnell win the Virginia governor’s race, Chris Christie emerge victorious in the New Jersey governor’s contest, or conservative Doug Hoffman triumph in a hotly contested special congressional election in upstate New York.

In fact, 2009 seems to have underscored what may be the biggest impediment for Republicans — the war within their base…

[W]ith Democrats in control, the onus is on the GOP to get its act together. George W. Bush, the president many Republicans came to see as an election-day albatross, is gone, but the party troubles born under him linger.

That’s as much as I’ll quote; follow the link for details about how Limbaugh and Beck have become “the angry white face of the party.” Ace’s commentary on media bias is always sharper than mine and this is no exception: His whole post is worth reading, especially the part about the media’s concern-trolling over a GOP civil war while Blue Dogs and progressives are having a knife fight over the public option, but this bit is sufficient for quoting.

Imagine if the Democrats were clearly ahead in these races. Try to imagine the AP’s “analysis” reading: Victories in these races do not prove Obama’s popularity or ability to swing races, and do nothing to erase the enormous obstacles he faces in passing health care reform or cap and trade legislation.

You would never see that. If that were the case, it would, in fact, be a referendum on Obama, about how wicked-awesome he is.

In fact, should the Democrats win, that is precisely what AP will say tomorrow.

So they will, and don’t be surprised if it comes packaged in a nudge to centrists that they’re now free and clear to take the plunge on a “robust” public option because Corzine won a bluer-than-blue state by two points or whatever. Since we’re doing pre-spin, though, make a mental note of these campaign mailers from Deeds and Corzine that Jim Geraghty’s collected so that you’re prepared for the inevitable “the results say nothing about Obama” gyroscope tomorrow night. Exit question: Does anyone know the total number of campaign events that The One has done for Deeds? I can’t find it on Google and I’m curious to learn just how much Hopenchange magic was poured into a looming 18-point blowout.