As Ace says, this is interesting chiefly as a pre-mortem for a midterm wipeout. It’s going to be bad and everyone knows it, so there’s no sense waiting around to put the blame where it belongs. Say this for Stewart: Unlike some Democrats, he’s not in denial about what election day will look like.

For comparison purposes, I looked at notes from interviews with Republican and Democratic strategists in late September 2006, when Democrats were thought to be marching toward their takeover of the House and the Senate.

The interviews came after then-President George W. Bush had begun the GOP’s fall offensive, built around the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and an effort to make national security a more significant issue in the campaign. What’s eerie is that Republicans then were saying some of the same things Democrats are saying now.

“I’m feeling better about some of the races,” one Republican pollster said at the time. “The campaigns are making a difference.”

“There’s a real sigh of relief for Republican operatives,” said another. “Unlike 1994, when Democrats were caught off guard, Republican strategists are pretty focused on the environment we’re in and being tactically competent and aggressive. . . . We all know this is going to be a game of inches.”

That’s from WaPo’s Dan Balz, who goes on to issue the obligatory reminder that higher turnout among the liberal base doesn’t mean Joe Manchin’s going to squeak past John Raese in West Virginia. It means Pelosi’s going to win her district with 85 percent of the vote instead of 75 percent. Moral victory?

Exit question: Did Stewart actually toss a Bill Ayers reference in here?

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