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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010
The Wisdom of Admiral Ackbar

After drinking beers with fellow bloggers yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that the Republicans taking control of Congress after the 2010 mid-terms would be a catastrophic mistake; on the surface it looks like a good idea but you peer a little deeper in you realize it's a trap.

The mistake of 1995 for the Congressional Republicans was that they generated the perfect storm of the momentum of a historic win, an ambitious agenda, and a White House held by a president who badly needed a foil to position himself against. Under the best of circumstances, it's hard enough to govern the country from the legislature and 1995 was hardly the best of circumstances. You know the rest; Newt and the Gang tried to pick a fight with Clinton, Willy Jeff used them to triangulate against, and the result in 1996 was cakewalk for Clinton-Gore.

So in a perfect world, where your exact wishes could come true, here's what the Republicans should wish for this November.

1) Pick up seats in the House and Senate, say get to 47 or so in the Senate and maybe 200 or so in the House.

2) Back off in Nevada, let Harry Reid win.

3) Find some races in vulnerable blue strongholds and pick them off, Massachusetts would have been perfect if it was in November.... but 1 Senate victory in Massachusetts is worth 3 or 4 House pick ups in the South.

The reason for these 3 wishes is for solid policy reasons as well as tatical politics.

The real prize for the Republicans is 2012, not 2010. Remember the great mistake of 1995 when Newt and the Boys were ascribed responsibility without the commensurate authority. It would be close to impossible for the Republicans to pick-up a large enough majority in 2010 to be able to effect the kind of conserative agenda they want, but if they gain organizational control of Congress even by the slenderest of margins they provide a public foil that Obama can work against.

I mean having responsibility but no authority is no way to go through life.

Second, Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader is the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans. He hits that rare trifecta of looking ineffective, corrupt, and a chronic victim of foot-in-mouth disease. The man makes Bill Frist look a genius. Is it really worth giving up all of that for a Republican senator from Nevada?

Third, I'm guessing that if you pick up enough Republican seats in the House that Pelosi's iron grip on her caucus is going to start cracking. Committee assignments and other carrot/stick techniques work great for a Speaker if it looks like you are going to run the House for the next decade but they start to look less effective if your members are worried about saving their own electoral skin. If the Republicans can cut the Democrats' margin down enough to "put the skeer" in them perhaps they can pick up a working majority on key issues.

Just like a team that starts the season with a big winning streak, you can peak early. Let's be cool about things as there is still a long way to go.