Polling supports this cynical summary. The still lifeless Republicans, who have avoided any credible renovation or even contrition for their decades of swinishness, now enjoy their largest generic lead over the Democrats in years. Trusted touts like Charlie Cook speak of a Democratic loss of at least 20 seats in the House. Republican Party fundraising is up, Republican recruitment is up—even in blue New Hampshire, where a potential loss of Judd Gregg’s U.S. Senate seat is now a likely win with the recruiting of the popular Attorney General Kelly Ayotte—and the GOP’s cheeks have a glow not related to shame.
“It’s Rahm,” a Republican partisan tells me. “The cowardly, brain-dead Republicans are claiming they’ve done something. But it’s Rahm. If Rahm goes, the Dems will not do worse. But it might be hard to undo the damage.”
Like the gifted and overwrought Maximilien de Robespierre once upon a time, Rahm Emanuel has taken control of a revolutionary movement he did not help create nor much contribute to while it was gathering strength under the oppression of the ancien régime of George W. Bush. And just like Robespierre, Emanuel has turned the president’s kitchen cabinet of trusted ex-campaign workers, led by David Axelrod (whose ex-PR firm has enjoyed $12 million in fees so far from fronts controlled by the administration-directed Democratic National Committee), Mark Lippert, and Denis McDonough (a dynamic duo of hatchetmen on the National Security Council), into a Committee for Public Safety that terrorizes Washington’s royals willy-nilly.