Now, this might seem like cold comfort to those liberals who actually believed their own hype about President Obama ushering in what Time magazine called a "new liberal order" that was supposed to last a generation but began petering out when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.Indeed, consoling liberals with the prediction that impending GOP success will yield Republican infighting is a bit like telling a Roman aristocrat that the invading barbarians will squabble over who gets to keep all your stuff.
So if liberals will take no solace from this prediction, perhaps conservatives will. You wouldn't know it from much of the mainstream news media coverage, which has focused almost entirely on the Tea Parties and the GOP, but the 2010 midterms were never about the Republicans. Think about how much coverage you've seen of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell or New York gubernatorial contender Carl Paladino, two candidates who were always long shots at best. Now think how little you've seen of say, Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin rookie politician poised to defeat Russ Feingold, the progressive lion of the Senate now that Teddy Kennedy is gone. Johnson is a solid, serious, candidate and hence bad copy for a press corps at least in part eager to keep the attention off the Democrats.
In short, as John Podhoretz recently wrote in the New York Post, this election isn't a coronation for the Republicans as it's a vote of no confidence in the Democrats. The political turmoil on the right, most commonly understood as "the Tea Parties vs. the establishment," that we've witnessed over the last year was in many respects a sideshow compared with the fact that support of Obama and the Democrats among independents, moderate Republicans, the elderly and, most recently, among women and low-income families, has cratered. Last week's New York Times/CBS News poll found that for the first time since 1982, when polling began, the GOP has the edge among women. For the most part, the bulk of these voters aren't moving to the GOP so much as they are fleeing the Democrats. That's how it works in a two-party system; one side's loss is the other side's gain.