Noteworthy that in the last few weeks liberal commentators, such as Mathew Yglesias and Jonathon Chait, have begun to seriously contemplate the possibility, even the likelihood of the Republicans securing a House of Representatives majority this year. Some of this commentary has been in response to the recent analysis of Harry Joe who has argued that the substantial Republican advantage in the generic ballot (which first emerged according to Gallup around November) points to large gains. True personalities count for a lot in individual districts but overall the generic ballot is a reasonable predictor. In Australia the major form of generic ballot skepticism is the myth (mostly) of marginal seat targeting: the argument that governments in trouble can hold on by carefully targeting marginal seats. In the last Australian election Liberal sympathetic journalists made much of this. Their hopes were dashed on election night. The question is what happens after a Republican sweep. Legislative gridlock will presumably become fully effective. Will the Republicans be encouraged to nominate a weaker and more extreme candidate for the Presidency? Could they win with a weak candidate? What level will unemployment be in 2012? David Greenberg may be right:
The reassertion of political limits and the deflation of campaign-season euphoria make it unlikely that Obama’s presidency will be “transformational” in the sense that he spoke of on the campaign trail—Lincolnian in its boldness, Rooseveltian in its activism, or Kennedyesque in its uplift. More likely, it will resemble Clinton’s presidency, with eight years of muddling through, frequent bouts of sharp partisan opposition, fluctuating poll ratings, and dashed hopes.