Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wait 'Til Next Year

By now, all but the most partisan Democrats are asking, not whether Republicans will make gains in next year's congressional elections, but how large those gains will be.

Josh Kraushaar, in Politico, analyzes the Republicans' prospects. He reports that "the most optimistic Republicans believe there is a real chance that the party can win back the House, a prospect that no one would have imagined just a few months ago."

I wouldn't bet the rent money on it, but it's not impossible.

The last time a young, new Democratic president was trying to push a national health plan through Congress, there were 176 Republicans in the House. Then, the GOP gained 54 seats in 1994, and put Newt Gingrich into the speaker's chair, the first of his party to occupy that seat since 1954 (coincidentally the last year when Brooklyn Dodger fans had to chant the phrase that's the title of this post).

There are currently 177 Republicans in the House, so their uphill climb is ever-so-slightly easier than it was 16 years ago.

Of course, all of this is subject to the disclaimer that, if, as the late British politician Harold Wilson put it, "a week is a long time in politics", then a year is eternity.

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