“I think Romney was being a little coy” with the suggestion that his leadership would be enough to dissolve the Hill’s current partisan firewalls, said Lofgren, who, out of frustration at the “do-nothing” status of Congress, last year famously left his job as a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget Committees after 28 years on Capitol Hill…

The argument that a Romney first term would stand a better chance than an Obama second term at jumpstarting Congress has everything to do with presumed logistics, Lofgren explained: “If for whatever reason momentum changes to the point that Romney gets elected, most likely he’s going to have retained a Republican House, and it’s significantly more likely under those circumstances that he’ll have picked up a Republican Senate, too.” Furthermore, he continued, “The dynamics of a first-term president always tend to be more activist. With second-term presidents, there’s a lot of legacy sniffing.”

It’s a difficult thing to predict, Sabato cautioned, particularly given the fluidity of House and Senate races. “Right now both candidates are whistling past the graveyard,” he said. Romney’s argument – seized on by his supporters, including Democrat-turned-Republican former Rep. Artur Davis – that working with Democrats in Massachusetts has prepared him to do the same as president – we’ve heard that for years from presidents. ‘Oh, as governor of Arkansas…’ and ‘When I was governor of Texas…’ It’s irrelevant. It’s always under completely different circumstances, and certainly not as polarized.