A good case could be made that a Republican takeover would only make life more difficult politically for the GOP, and easier in some ways for President Obama.
If Republicans win control of the House, which is the big prize this year, they’d take on much more responsibility for what happens in Washington. Yet inevitably they would be in charge by such a slim margin they wouldn’t be able to really control much, particularly if Democrats keep control of the Senate, which seems likely.
Republicans’ own flaws and divisions, rather than those of the Democrats, would move to the forefront. President Obama actually would find it easier to move to the political center, which is where he’ll want to be for his own re-election campaign in 2012.
There are good reasons, in short, that some Republicans say privately that they hope they get close to taking control but don’t go over the top. That, they think, would set them up better to take back control of everything—presidency, House and Senate—in 2012.
I’m not sure about this. I also don’t hear a lot of it, at least from Republicans in the House. A lot of them actually want to shoulder responsibility. Because they are determined to lead differently this time. And they know the country needs them to.