Don’t Be So Cynical, Josh!


TPM Reader MS tells me to step back from the Snark Canon and not assume I know the GOP would react if the Dems have a strong cycle …

Yogi Berra said it best: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” With respect, nobody knows what the future holds. If Romney loses, it’s impossible to tell what ramifications this will have among the party elite.

Consider that Obama received a higher percentage of the vote than Clinton or Carter, you have to go all the way back to LBJ for a percentage higher than Obama’s 54%…. Democrats getting that high a share of the vote is just not the normal order of things. Two times in a row! If a narrative develops that the Tea Party crazies / Akin / anti-Latino sentiment and so on and so forth were responsible for the party’s lack of maneuverability, maybe they will move to the center. If I had a gun to my head and I had to bet on whether the GOP would stay hard right wing or move to the center, yes I would not bet on a resurgence of the moderates. But that’s different from saying someone else’s guess on the matter MUST be wrong.

Look at the Democrats of Mondale and Dukakis. It would have been very, very hard to foresee that a guy like Clinton could come along and that the party would get tired of being a laughingstock and try to get the independents in the middle. But it happened.

A related story. Yesterday a friend of mine said to me that even if the Dems get e.g. 54 votes in the Senate, “it won’t matter because you need 60 votes to do anything.” I said, “We don’t know that for sure.” My friend was startled to hear me say that. We take it for granted that the filibuster rules that did so much damage in the last few years will be impossible to get rid of. But we don’t really know that, it wouldn’t really take that much for things to change. The only thing that’s for sure is that if Obama wins and if the Dems have a decent standing in the Congress, the whole “Party of No” strategy will be rethought. The “Party of No” strategy was explicitly a gamble focused on the outcomes of 2012. So assuming Obama wins and the Dems do well in the Congress, how exactly would a Republican who wanted to stamp his feet and vote no, no, no on everything frame that argument? It would seem like a replay of a risky strategy that didn’t work at all.

So anyway, don’t be so dismissive. You might disagree with Schumer, but his comment deserves more respect than you accorded it.

MS has a good point. At some point, if the Strategy of No goes badly enough there will be a recalibration. I guess I’ve just been watching this movie for about 20 years. And it’s really hard for me to imagine it changes any time soon.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of