Ed Driscoll

'We Totally Wanted to Lose Anyway,' GOP Edition

Bad GOP presidential omen — Noemie Emery of the Washington Examiner writes, “For 2012, GOP’s best hope may be losing:”

People like Obama more than his ideas, and his chances will only get better as people realize he will never be able to pass his agenda. If re-elected, he may pass six of eight years politically neutered. An Obama safely under House (and probably Senate) arrest might be just what the public would want.

Then, after two terms of a left-wing but neutered Obama, the voters might want the next big Republican president. And here we confront the real crux of the problem: A so-so Republican who knocks off a weakened Obama may also weaken the next great conservative star.

If a Republican wins, no one from the class of 2009-2010 can run until 2020, and if a Republican wins in 2016, it gives him an almost insurmountable burden: only three times in the 20th century has a party extended its run for three terms.

A President Pawlenty or Daniels may come at the cost of a President Rubio, who might have united the party, excited the young and vastly expanded the reach of the party. Would it be worth it? Your call.

Strategic thinking too far in the future can often be folly, the victim of many unknowns. Hillary Clinton schemed for eight years, and prepared for everything except for Obama; many Democrats passed on 1992, as there would be plenty of time to run later; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., edged ahead of Obama and was preparing his victory lap on the surge when the fiscal implosion put paid to all that.

That said, Republicans facing 2012 may have two choices: Hang Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., by his feet out the window until he comes to terms with his destiny; or pick a common-sense nominee who can give Obama a run for his money — and quietly hope he will lose.

Back in late October, Benjamin Sarlin of the Daily Beast looked at the folly of political “addition through subtraction” from the other side of the aisle, at the conclusion of his article titled, “Five Signs the Dems are Doomed:”

5. We Totally Wanted to Lose Anyway

The final phase of the party meltdown after denial, anger, and depression: acceptance. Once it becomes clear that a major loss is inevitable, expect a spate of op-eds making the case that it’s actually in the party’s best interest to give up its majorities. They may even have a good argument, but their very existence is about as ill an omen as it gets. One typical silver lining cited by pundits is that a midterm loss will boost the party’s chances in the next presidential election. Salon’s Mark Greenbaum runs with this idea, for example, arguing that the minority party’s new governing responsibilities will expose them to tougher criticism and give Obama a handy foil to rally his troops against.

“Sure, a GOP House could mean endless investigations and subpoenas, but it would also give the president a better chance at winning a second term in 2012,” Greenbaum writes.

As Republicans faced their own wipeout in 2006, conservative commentators penned plenty of pieces along the same lines. Ramesh Ponnuru took to The New York Times in September to explain that “if Republicans play their cards right, and the Democrats prove unequal to the task of running the House, the voters could put the Republicans back in power on Capitol Hill in 2008.”

I’ve long been a big fan of Noemie’s writing, but this sure sounds like a near identical early warning version of the same point that Sarlin made above, except aimed at the GOP, and at the executive level, instead of a nationwide series of candidates posed to get slaughtered at the ballot box.

Now tell me how she’s wrong.