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GOP, Don't Shut Down the Government or Impeach Obama

With all of the talk among some Republicans in Congress about impeachment and shutting down the government to stop Obamacare or force entitlement-spending cuts, you’d think that they were living in another reality back in the 1990s. Republicans were pursuing similar missions then, and things didn’t work out so well for the GOP. For those in need of a quick history lesson, all you need to know is that Republicans managed to lose House seats in the midterm elections of 1998. It was the only time since World War II that the party in the White House (Democrats) gained seats in a second-term, midterm election. Talk about seizing defeat from the jaws of victory!

Obviously, the people and policy particulars are different now, but the similarities are obvious. At that time, the loathing of President Clinton was so great, the emotions were so high, and the belief was so firm that their cause was righteous that Republicans could not conceive their actions were ill-advised. Blind hatred is a dangerous thing.

Of course, this isn’t to suggest that every Republican in Congress today advocates scorched-earth strategies and tactics. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell...

Here’s How Republicans Can Take Over the Senate


One difference between professional athletes and fans, and between coaches and cheerleaders, is that while all of them see opportunities for their teams, the athletes and coaches are more likely to also see, and at least privately acknowledge, potential pitfalls. The 2014 Senate races, which are really a fight over who will hold the majority in the chamber, provide plenty of pitfalls for political professionals in both parties to worry about.

On its face, the math certainly creates opportunities for Republicans. Twenty Democratic seats are up in 2014, compared with only 15 for Republicans, although by the time of the election the numbers will be 21 and 14. (That’s because the New Jersey seat of the late Democrat Frank Lautenberg is now held by appointed Republican Jeffrey Chiesa, and it will almost certainly flip back to the Democrats in October.) As a result, while the current 54-46 partisan split (with independents Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont caucusing with Democrats) means that Republicans need only a five-seat gain to reach a majority, the bar will be raised to six seats after the New Jersey special election. So, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that...

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