That's what happened in the 1998 congressional elections, nearly foiling Clinton's impeachment. It's what happened to the Conservative Party in Britain a week ago. And that's what happened this week in the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, formerly represented by Rep. John Murtha.
Note to Republicans: Whenever possible, victory parties should be held after the election, not before it.
The result of the election in Murtha's old district on Tuesday was that the rabidly anti-ObamaCare, pro-life, pro-gun candidate won! Yippee!
The reason the Times' description was not utter madness (in violation of New York Times' official policy) is because the anti-ObamaCare, pro-life, pro-gun candidate was a Democrat and, for the past two months, every Republican on TV has been predicting a Republican victory in Murtha's district.
Thanks to all the happy talk, if the Republican actually had won, it would have been Page 16 news. But when the Democrat won, it seemed like an against-all-odds, come-from-behind Hoosiers victory!
Why were Republicans predicting victory in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1? Given a choice between two candidates who both hate ObamaCare, why would lifelong Democrats not vote for the Democrat?
Republicans are playing the same raised-expectations game with the November elections. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner is ludicrously predicting Republicans will pick up 100 seats in the House in November. Newt Gingrich puts the figure at an equally insane (and weirdly precise) 78. He also predicts the Cubs will win 132 games this season and six games will be rained out.
Keep it up, Republicans, and I'm going to keep naming names. I have Nexis.
For more than half a century, the average midterm pickup for the party out of power has been 24 seats.
Your job, Republicans, is not to go on Fox News and whisper sweet nothings in conservatives' ears. Your job is to repeal the Obama agenda. Raising expectations so high that a 30-seat Republican pickup will seem like a loss is not helping.
Moreover, we're not going to pick up any seats this November if Republicans keep chumming around with the Democrats' pals on Wall Street.
Roughly since the Harding administration, Wall Street has overwhelmingly favored Democrats. According to a recent report from ABC News, for example, the five largest hedge funds gave "almost all their donations to Democrats."
For the past year, the Democrats' Wall Street BFFs have had lower public approval ratings than Hitler. (When I say "Hitler," I don't mean Dick Cheney or George W. Bush; I actually mean Adolf Hitler.) While Hitler continues to enjoy great personal popularity, there is a growing dissatisfaction with his policies.
How could Republicans possibly screw that up? We try harder.
No sooner had the news come out that Goldman Sachs (Joseph Goebbels in this metaphor) had given Obama an astronomical $1 million in campaign donations, than Republican John Boehner decided that this was the time to suck up to Wall Street! So Boehner flew to New York to meet with Wall Street bankers and ask them to be Republicans' friends.
Boehner is like the guy who just got raped in prison and doesn't know what happened to him. Hey -- what was that? Should I have thanked the guy?
As Pat Caddell says, Democrats are whores, but they expect to be paid; Republicans' names are scrawled on the bathroom wall: "For a good time, call the GOP!"
As depressing as it is to watch the Republican Party dive headlong off a cliff, at least we have Dick Blumenthal.
Connecticut's attorney general, pompous, freakishly ambitious, self-righteous, hold-a-press-conference-every-day Blumenthal, was a shoo-in to take Chris Dodd's Senate seat this fall.
After all, he was a Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart winner from his days as a four-star general in Vietnam. (And captain of the Harvard swim team to boot!)
But now we find out from a front-page article in The New York Times that, despite Blumenthal's repeated references to serving "in Vietnam" -- he was never in Vietnam. He got five draft deferments and then joined an elite unit of the Marine Reserves to avoid going to war, serving in their heroic "Toys for Tots" brigade.
He also wasn't on the Harvard swim team. (Oddly enough, though, the story Blumenthal likes to tell about owning a necklace of human ears? That one's actually true.)
Blumenthal may as well have shown up for a press conference in a dress. Suddenly, Connecticut is in play!
Naturally, therefore, Republicans are planning on running a World Wrestling Entertainment "impresario" against Blumenthal. Yes, in Connecticut ... a state that is among the wealthiest and most highly educated in the nation ... a state that isn't Minnesota. The average Nutmegger doesn't even know what a turnbuckle is, and that includes me.
Republicans could run Rob Simmons, a Connecticut legislator with a distinguished record of service in the House of Representatives, the CIA, and as a Yale political science professor -- who actually did serve in Vietnam, winning two Bronze Stars and retiring as a colonel.
But defeat is so close! Republicans can almost taste the bitterness of yet another crushing loss!