Parallel spin

Speaker John Boehner and Democratic National Chair Debbie Wassernan Schultz don’t agree on much. When they do agree on a proposition, the appropriate posture for the rest of us is skepticism. That’s my take, anyway, on the view espoused by Boehner and endorsed by Wasserman Schultz that the Democrats have a one-in-three chance of re-capturing a majority of the House of Representatives in November.

Boehner and Wasserman Schultz have the same incentive to overstate the Democrats’ chances – fundraising. Boehner, I suspect, fears that complacency will cause potential Republican contributors to overlook House races. He may have learned this the hard way when, at the end of last year, Boehner assessed the Dems’ prospects as practically nil.

For her part, Wasserman Schultz must fear that pessimism by potential Democratic contributors will cause them to devote their money to trying to hold onto the Senate and, of course, the presidency, while ignoring the House. Hence the need to talk up the prospects for flipping the House. But Wasserman Schultz is actually restrained compared to Steny Hoyer, the House Minority Whip. Hoyer claims that the Dems have a 50-50 chance of winning the House. Wasserman Schultz, I assume, understands that no one will buy this claim, so she shrewdly tries to gain credibility by seizing upon Boehner’s spin.

Currently, there are 242 Republicans and 190 Democrats in the House. The Democrats face quite an uphill battle to convert these numbers into a majority in year that does not appear to be shaping up as a great one for their Party.

I don’t know what the odds against the House Dems should be, but I thought they fell short of one-in-three even before Boehner and Wasserman Shultz agreed on them.


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