Republicans are expected to make significant gains in the House and Senate in November. Is it possible that it would be better for the Republicans if they don't take over the House after the election?
I admit that this is something I hadn't considered. However, I read a rather provocative article in the Wall Street Journal this morning by columnist Gerald F. Seib. As put forth by Mr. Seib, it would very likely benefit the Republicans not to take over the House after the election, especially since it's unlikely that they will take over the Senate as well. He argues that even if they win control of the House, it will be by such a small margin that they won't be able to control anything. But being the majority party in the House would put them in the forefront and force them to absorb blame for much of what goes wrong in Washington. On the other hand, one must take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
In addition, Mr. Seib argues that if the Republicans take over the House, this will give Obama an excuse to move to the political middle, which is where he probably needs to be in order to win re-election in 2012.
I do have a problem with his second argument, however. Mr. Seib notes that Bill Clinton moved to the political center after Democrats lost the house in 1994. There are a couple of important differences between Clinton and Obama though. Bill Clinton is a liberal, but not an ideologue, and he is capable of moderation in some matters. Obama, however, is a dedicated ideologue, even though he argues that he's not. He can say "I'm not an ideologue" until the cows come home, but the fact is that he behaves like an ideologue. He has shown us his true colors and he has no credibility as a centrist (I admit he has no credibility with me in any realm). If he attempts to maneuver to the political center, it will be obvious to everyone that this is nothing more than a cynical ploy. I rather doubt that Obama would do this. I suspect he would rather move his agenda forward and be a one term president than be a two-termer with a watered-down agenda.