I just caught a few minutes of Charlie Cook with a panel of six political strategists--three and three, Republican and Democrat. Quel surprise: everybody is predicting Republican gains; the only dispute is over how much. But it was possible to suss out some new and interesting insights. Perhaps the most interesting (to me) came from Joe Trippi talking about the turmoil internal to both parties. On the Republican side, it is obvious: Sarah and company versus the grownups. On the Democratic side, it is not quite so easy to notice, but the progressives are really mad--over, as you might say, the Glenn Greenwald agenda plus the Joe Stiglitz agenda. So Trippi, if I understand him right, is expecting a lot of tough primary fights in both parties as the "extremes" try to take out the middle. He somehow thinks that this may lead to limiting the amount of bad news for Dems, but I'm not sure I follow that.
The second thing that struck me was a pitch by Alex Castellanos, the GOP strategist, arguing that the Obama Administration is making a George W. kind of mistake. That is (my paraphrase) in each case--Obama and W--you've got a President who achieved power on a not-very-specific agenda ("Yes, We Can!" is not an agenda). And then each turned out to have a fully articulated agenda which he was determined to pursue whether the voters wanted him to or not. In particular, I understood him to say, the Dems have taken a lot of their necessary support and left it more or less parked, enjoying 10 percent unemployment while the party in power worries about health care and bailing out banks.
I think there are a lot of flaws in that theory so complain to him, not me, but I think there is enough truth in it that attention must be paid.
Much more good stuff here, worth the listsen. But as a final note, for extr credit: why is it that I find all six of these commenttors (plus, of course, Cook himself) more sane, balanced and realistic than almost any of the party noisemakers I see on TV?