Be Careful What You Wish For

Every silver cloud has a gray lining. Guess the risk for Republicans in this scenario:

Most Republican hope focuses on the House of Representatives, but even there they have a huge job ahead. Democrats control 256 seats, and Republicans 178. Forty seats would have to change hands for Republicans to take charge.

On the other hand, 52 seats turned over when the GOP won the House in 1994. And even if Republicans don’t get the 40 they need in 2010, they could dramatically narrow the gap between the parties, giving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership less room to operate.

The polls are definitely moving in the GOP’s direction.

A near miss might be worse than anything at all, in terms of effective governance. The Democrats most likely to lose in 2010 are the most conservative ones, elected in the South and Midwest over the last two or three cycles. The remaining Democrats would, on average, be even further to the left.

And, thanks to gerrymandering, those far-left seats are safe, safe, safe. Perhaps safe enough not to work with Republicans on anything of substance.