Jonah Goldberg

But a Pelosi-run House could so horrify voters that it would probably prepare the soil for a Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Pelosi is, if anything, a moderate in the Democratic caucus, but she is indisputably far to the left of the American center, in part because she and her colleagues mistake angry bloggers for the mainstream. Letting voters see this crowd try to have its way for two years would only help the GOP in the far more important 2008 election.

Moreover, it could very well boost President Bush's popularity in his final two years - popularity he would need to conduct foreign policy, which tends to dominate the final years of all presidencies.

It's one thing to snipe at the president as the party out of power. It is quite another to use congressional power to hobble a wartime commander in chief. When the economy was strong and the world was deceptively peaceful, perceived Republican overreach kept Bill Clinton's poll numbers up. It's entirely possible that similar behavior - behavior the Democratic base will doubtlessly demand - would have a similar effect on Bush's popularity, especially with troops fighting overseas. A Speaker Pelosi couldn't get left-wing legislation through, and nothing terrifying could survive in the GOP-run Senate or be spared Bush's veto pen, which, sad to say, still has plenty of ink in it. One exception might be immigration, but that would hand conservative Republicans a dream issue for 2008.

As for Iraq, antiwar liberals would discover that having a majority within a party is not the same thing as controlling it. Democrats would not be able to force a withdrawal from Iraq, but they'd look even more McGovernite in the process.

I can't quite hope the Democrats win. But I can't bring myself to say I'd like more of the same, either. As Henry Kissinger said in 1986 of the Iran-Iraq war: Too bad they can't both lose.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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