Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hope the Republicans are (slightly) short in November

While I certainly hope the Republicans do well in November, I hope they are a few votes shy of a majority in both chambers. In the Senate, this discussion is probably moot: it's almost mathematically impossible for them to get a majority in the Senate. They'd need to pick up 10 seats. That'd be about as good as they could possible do, and it'd require everything going right for them. Boxer losing, Murray losing, etc.

There are several reasons why being in the minority would be better for the Republicans long-term.

First, let's say they get slight majorities. They won't be able to accomplish much of anything, as Obama will veto any meaningful reforms.

Second, the Republican leadership is not great. I'd really like them put Ryan, Pence, Flake and others in leadership roles.

Third, Obama could go back into campaign mode, rallying his base and some swing voters against congress, who would probably be trying to cut the budget. The end result would be they'd get blamed for cutting various popular programs without actually cutting them. If Democrats held slight majorities, the blame could not easily be shifted onto Republicans.

Fourth, a slight majority in the Senate is no fun. Filibusters and other procedural motions can be used by the minority very effectively. Having a 51-49 Republican majority would mean that every bill would have to meet the approval of Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and other liberal Republicans. In other words, it'd mean not being to really put many of your principles forward.

So in any event, I think it would be best if the Republicans had slight minorities in each chamber. If Republicans retake the House, I think it's much harder to get Obama out of office in 2012.

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