Conservative opinions of the compromise deal struck late last night, which averted a shutdown of the federal government, are decidedly mixed. Andrew Stiles of National Review was triumphant, applauding "Boehner's robust leadership." And by avoiding the shutdown scenario -- which some Democrats clearly relished as an opportunity to excoriate Republicans as "extremists" -- Boehner's compromise deal "allows the Republicans to live again and fight another day," as our own Jim Antle observed in the wee hours.
Actually, we (collectively) feel fine. The reference is, of course, to the REM song: It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." Well, Hank Paulson, the nation's chief panic-monger, told us for two weeks that if we didn't bail out Wall Street, the world as we knew it (or at least the economic world as we knew it) would come to an end. Yeah, right. As I write, the Dow industrial average today is up 350 points. Paulson can take back what John Boehner called his "cr@p sandwich" and swallow hard.
I still say no, and that they're more likely to lose seats than make gains. But this new Gallup poll shows a post convention bounce for the GOP brand itself, with the double digit lead in the generic ballot enjoyed by Democrats all year narrowing to just three points. The poll, according to the release, "casts some doubt on the previously assumed inevitability of the Democrats' maintaining control of Congress." I'd like to see more polls reinforcing this, and look at more district-by-district polling, before I take it too seriously.
One other point is that a few months ago, we hosted a breakfast with House minority leader John Boehner and he argued that the GOP leadership wasn't going to try and nationalize elections, but rather instruct their candidates to do what they needed to within their own district. I wonder whether, given the improving fortunes of Republicans, they will change course and decide to run a national campaign.