I wrote the other day that “It’s remarkable the extent to which press coverage of current politics doesn’t reflect the deep unpopularity of the opposition party.” Thinking more about this in the interim it struck me that perhaps the clearest evidence of this is that you don’t seem to hear many people talking about the fact that the Senate Republican caucus, though it’s been highly effective at obstructing legislation, is almost certain to further shrink and yet you rarely see this reflected in the coverage. But don’t ask me, ask NRSC Chairman Jon Cornyn (R-TX):
“That’s going to be real hard, to be honest with you,” Cornyn said of keeping Democrats from reaching 60 seats, adding: “Everybody who runs could be the potential tipping point to get Democrats to 60. We’ve not only got to play defense; we’ve got to claw our way back in 2010. It’ll be a huge challenge.”
So far this cycle, Republicans have been faced with retirements in four swing states, emerging primaries against at least three of their members and a map that, after two cycles of big GOP losses, continues to favor Democrats.
After losing ground in 2006, you might have expected Republicans to start distancing themselves from the hugely unpopular president and his failed conservative policies. Instead, the caucus held remarkably firm behind Bush’s agenda. And then they lost a bunch of additional seats in 2008. At this point you again might have expected them to start acting conciliatory. But they haven’t been. Which might lead you to suspect that they have some kind of secret master plan to explain why this makes sense. But, clearly, they don’t—Cornyn acknowledges that his side is likely to lose more seats.