Even with two months left before voters go to the polls, pollsters and pundits agree that a GOP landslide in the midterm elections is more or less inevitable. Still in doubt is whether or not the party will claim enough seats to retake the House and, less probably, the Senate. Would a GOP Congress be the beginning of a resurgence in the Republicans' long-term fortunes — or, counter-inuitively, prove a boon to President Obama?
A Republican landslide would ultimately help Obama: If the GOP does capture a majority, says Andrew Pavelyev at FrumForum, it will be a "barely functional" one, propped up by Tea Party candidates who will struggle to be re-elected in 2012. This "small and rudderless (but increasingly ideological) GOP majority" would set Obama and the Democrats up for a colossal victory in two years' time.
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Actually, the GOP controls its own fate: The Republicans' future rests on keeping its new grassroots activist base happy, says Benjamin Sarlin at the Daily Beast. If they "make significant budget cuts immediately upon taking office in January," and continue with a program of deficit-slashing reforms, then it could be the start of something bigger. But it will take deep cuts to keep the Tea Partiers happy.
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Holding power during a recession is an electoral curse: The president "may well be better off" losing the House to the Republicans, says Linda Feldmann at the Christian Science Monitor. The GOP has thrived by "making life difficult for Obama without the responsibility of governing." Taking the reins as the recession deepens could turn voters against the Republicans, and "boost [Obama's] reelection chances in 2012."
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