That’s what the “experts” are telling them, anyway. I don’t know, though. It’s so … unlike them.

Do Nancy “Un-American” Pelosi and Harry “Evil-mongers” Reid really have it in them to go bareknuckle?

“Very often the instinct for an incumbent party is to defend and justify,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster for Democratic candidates. “But in this kind of environment, the best defense is a good offense. This needs to be a cycle where Republican vulnerabilities are a central part of the debate.”

Charlie Cook, the nonpartisan political handicapper, framed the Democrats’ challenge for 2010 more bluntly. It does not track the genial, new-politics identity that President Obama has cultivated.

“They’re going to have to play really rough,” said Mr. Cook, who pegs Democrats’ chances for holding the House next year at only slightly better than even…

Democrats will “have to make the opponent the issue,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster. “No. 1, try to tie them to George W. Bush — and then make it personal after that.”

In other words, expect a lot more fat jokes from our enlightened progressive brethren when they’re not busy comparing themselves to Bob Dylan for claiming that Republicans want sick people to die. Meanwhile, the GOP’s own strategy evidently will focus on linking vulnerable House Democrats to Pelosi, since Bambi’s willingness to run up trillion-dollar deficits year after year after year into the future still isn’t enough to soil his good name with most of the public. Are we sure he’s not the Messiah? His ability to achieve jack squat while maintaining the love of the public borders on the supernatural.

Exit question: If next year’s GOP gains are underwhelming, how much of a consolation will it be to see Reid upset in Nevada? Because, dude, it’s happening.