It sounds … unlikely, John.
The House minority leader, speaking on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Friday, said that the “playing field” for the 2010 elections is wider than “anything we’ve seen around here during my 20 years.”
“At least 100 seats,” Boehner told NPR’s Steve Inskeep, when asked how many House districts are up for grabs. “You think there are 100 seats in the United States that could change hands?” Inskeep asked.
“I do,” Boehner responded.
“Well typically, you are correct there would be some limited number of seats in play,” Boehner said. “Let me remind you that Scott Brown won the Ted Kennedy Senate seat in Massachusetts. If Scott Brown can win in Massachusetts, there isn’t a seat in America that Republicans can’t win.”
He’s not the first person to float this possibility. Sean Trende of RCP made the case a few weeks ago that Democrats are sailing into an absolutely perfect political storm this year. Not since 1938, when 79 seats flipped, have the stars aligned this ideally; a triple-digit pick-up is on the radar screen, albeit at the far edge. My only question: Why on earth is Boehner, of all people, raising this idea? If a GOP tsunami hits and, say, 55 seats switch hands, we all know that the second story on the front page the next day will now be “GOP’S TAKE LOWER THAN EXPECTED.” Good work, John.
On a related note, Gerald Seib asks a question fraught with heart-ache: Should the GOP really want to take back the House?
If Republicans win control of the House, which is the big prize this year, they’d take on much more responsibility for what happens in Washington. Yet inevitably they would be in charge by such a slim margin they wouldn’t be able to really control much, particularly if Democrats keep control of the Senate, which seems likely.
Republicans’ own flaws and divisions, rather than those of the Democrats, would move to the forefront. President Obama actually would find it easier to move to the political center, which is where he’ll want to be for his own re-election campaign in 2012.
There are good reasons, in short, that some Republicans say privately that they hope they get close to taking control but don’t go over the top. That, they think, would set them up better to take back control of everything—presidency, House and Senate—in 2012…
Moreover, if Republicans take control of one chamber of Congress, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate would recede a bit, leaving Mr. Obama more clearly the face of the Democrats. And despite his problems and critics, the president remains far and away the Democrats’ most popular figure and most effective spokesman.
Fair points all — if you remove policy from the equation, which, thanks to the stimulus and ObamaCare, you simply can’t do. Grassroots conservatives are frantic to impose some sort of brake on The One’s agenda before he pushes through whatever happens to be the next disastrous statist program he has on his agenda. If the GOP reclaims the House and not a single bill passes Congress for two years, great. That can’t be worse than another trillion-dollar boondoggle. Even if the inevitable tack to the right does improve Obama’s chances in 2012.
Fantastically depressing exit quotation from Ramesh Ponnuru: “Only once, a few weeks ago, have I heard anyone say that more than half of the [Republican] conference wants the majority. That congressman said that his colleagues do want to be in the majority but are not yet ready to do what it would take. But he thinks they’re getting there.”