Third, if the President’s job approval rating drops much more, the Republicans could score big gains in next year’s House elections. This is quickly becoming conventional wisdom. But something else has gone less commented upon: there are different types of Republicans who are known to populate Congress.

There were the Republicans of the 109th Congress – largely inert, happy to keep things the way they were, pleased as punch just to be in power. They’re the sort that Thomas Nast would have caricatured 125 years ago, and why Republican voters today still have so little faith in congressional Republicans.

These will probably not be the new Republicans on Capitol Hill in 2011 if there is a GOP surge. Instead, we’re more likely to see Republicans who consider themselves “citizen legislators,” the kind who take the 10th Amendment seriously, who plan to term limit themselves, who walk around the Capitol with a copy of the Constitution in their breast pocket, and so on. Enough of these true believing legislators could make life unpleasant for President Obama, who need only consider the experiences of Presidents Truman and Clinton if he has any doubts about this.