The Bleak Outlook

Jonathan Weisman has an excellent rundown of the horserace as it pertains to congressional elections. Beyond the broad point that big picture trends look bad for Republicans, he shows that these bad trends have already manifested themselves in a series of candidate-recruitment failures -- only Mary Landrieux in the Senate is facing is a serious GOP challenge and "Republicans have largely failed to recruit credible candidates for the swing-district seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) or to challenge several Democratic freshmen who took GOP seats in 2006. They include Zack Space of Ohio, Joe Courtney of Connecticut, Chris Carney and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, John Hall of New York, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heath Shuler of North Carolina."

Consequently, whatever happens between now and November, the Republicans are basically condemned to be playing defense. The question becomes how many seats will they lose, not whether they will lose one. That's a pretty bad situation for a minority party to be in since, by definition, a majority party can only make further gains by pushing into not-incredibly-favorable geography. At any rate, if I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, but in the event a Democrat is in the White House in 2009, the trajectory of domestic policy in the next administration is going to have more to do with the outcome of the congressional elections (especially in the Senate) than with the outcome of the Democratic primary.