A little late, but before all of the election returns on in, I have to note something.
Back in 2000, I made the argument that even if (then candidate) Bush lost, if he even came close it would be a bad sign for Al Gore, as the political winds were all in his favor. This cycle, I would say that the winds weren’t as well aligned, but overall should have been favoring the GOP. A strong economy, domestic peace since 9/11/01, no serious scandals in the White House, an opposition that is large parts craven and demented and has no real platform — the list goes on and on. Even given the historical trends of mid term elections for the dominant party, losing the House or the Senate is a bad performance for the GOP. I have to completely agree with Instapundit that if that happens, it will be because the GOP played many unforced errors. When the GOP Speaker of the House defends a Representative from the opposition from the FBI so he can hide cash and evidence in his office, there’s something seriously wrong in the GOP leadership. I think that President Bush has to take some blame for being too low key as well.
In the end, I wonder if it matters that much. I tend to agree with the prediction that winning a narrow majority in the House but not the Senate will do terrible things to the Democratic Party over the next two years. The temptation to strike out against a lame duck President will likely prove too much for the few adults that remain.
UPDATE: The big question, with the trends becoming clear, is whether the GOP will re-assess or decide that they weren’t big government enough. While the evidence is clear to us on that, recent history shows that even for the GOP, the Washington DC bubble has a very strong interface through which few facts can travel.