I just read the comments on the Corner concerning the possibility of a ‘semi-permanent’ Democratic Majority on the Hill. I’m an ex-Senate staffer and remain a Congress junkie myself, and while I go along with some of the other reader’s line of thought I’d like to add a couple points.
First, if you take out the seats we gained from redistricting in 2002 and 2004, we’ve been bleeding seats since the 104th Congress. In the 104th we had two seats in Massachusetts, a 5-4 majority in the Washington state, the California delegation I believe was an even split or close to it, and we had a healthy number of seats in old-suburb districts like the ones around Philadelphia.
That has all slowly eroded over the last decade. The GOP played defense, and when you play not to lose, inevitably you eventually do. The NRCC has to become more pragmatic (recall that 1990s buzzword) and be more aggressive in locating center-right candidates in these light blue and purple districts.
On the Senate, I’m not as bearish on 2008; it’s true that Domenici, Warner and Cochran are good bets to step aside, and Domenici’s seat is likely a lost cause. But the Republican Congressional bench in Mississippi and Virginia is strong, and, barring a run by Mark Warner, unless the Dems clone Jim Webb (God help us if they do) both should hold.
This Senate class from this past election is historically evil for us. In 2000 and now 2006 the Dems basically took out all of our close wins from 1994. The ’08 class is full of Southern and mountain seats, which should offset the fact we’re defending more.