In his response to E.D., Larison makes this point about a possible House turnover:
After all, even if the Republicans won the House there would not be much that they could do once in office, except waste their time as they did in the ’90s hauling executive branch officials before committees to testify on this or that outrage of the week. They would likely be stymied by the Democratic majority in the Senate on any major legislation, and Obama would veto just about anything they passed if it somehow got to his desk. At the same time, Obama would make them into a much more effective foil for his arguments once they had some hold on power, and out of frustration they would become increasingly obsessed with “getting” Obama and become even less interested in representing the interests of their constituents.
Larison thinks that a turnover would not be in the best interests of Republicans, and that “they will proceed to destroy themselves in very short order.” This may be true – if Republicans win the House in November, voters will inevitably chuck them out, probably as early as 2012. But that win, though fleeting, is still a central part of the Republican game plan.
The Republicans have been an effective minority party for the last few decades in part because they’re able to marshal a focused, interested minority against a somewhat apathetic majority. Though Greenwald and Kos identify a number of legitimate reasons for an enthusiasm gap on the part of engaged, focused voters, there’s also a simple “interest” gap. A lot of people don’t vote because they view it as a pointless act. The more Republicans make government into a meaningless sideshow, the fewer voters will be interested in voting.
The sheer stupidity of a Republican-led Congress isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. It helps to convince younger, intelligent, uninterested non-voters — a group that would probably vote for Democrats — that their lack of interest is a rational choice.