Desperate times, cont’d

Daniel Lowenstein is the Director of the Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions at UCLA Law School. He writes to comment on Paul Mirengoff’s “Desperate times call for desperate name-calling.”

Four reasons not to lose interest in House races:
1. The fat lady has not sung yet.
2. Even if the Republicans gain control of the House, the margin of control counts. A major reason Nancy Pelosi has been so successful in the House this Congress has been that she does not need to round up every Democrat or nearly every Democrat on key votes. Furthermore, the extra Democratic margin has made it possible for Democrats from marginal districts in some cases to avoid votes that could jeopardize reelection without jeopardizing a party victory in the House. A blowout rather than barely obtaining a majority would allow Republicans to use the same tactic.
3. One of the striking facts about the Republicans today is the gap in quality between its leadership at the major league and triple-A levels. It’s easier to be enthusiastic about Cantor, Ryan, Jindal and Christie than about Boehner, McConnell, Palin, and Romney (though that group is a bit stronger if one includes Daniels and Pawlenty). One has to hope that another strong generation of leaders will emerge from this year’s election. That was one reason I appreciated the piece you ran the other day about Josh Mandel, the candidate for Treasurer of Ohio. Though some candidates obviously have much more potential than others, each seat the Republicans pick up is a potential leader of the future.
4. The incumbency advantage may not be what it used to be, but it still exists. The more seats the party can win this year, the better shape it will be in for future rainy-day and overcast-day elections. And the better jumping-off place the party will occupy if the weather should be sunny in November 2012.

Professor Lowenstein adds this postscript: “At least three of those reasons should motivate Democrats as well as Republicans, though in reverse. The possible exception is the third. If one puts country over party, then each party has an interest in the other party developing good leaders.”
A footnote on Josh Mandel: Josh called me on Monday to extend his thanks to Power Line readers who contributed to his campaign in response to my note on him over the weekend. To his thanks I would like to add my own. Josh’s site is here; contribute to his campaign here.
PAUL adds: I certainly haven’t lost interest in House races; obviously, the more gains the better. I’m just spending less of my limited time tracking them and more of that time tracking Senate races.


Books to read from Power Line