Perhaps the biggest thing Democrats learned from Obama is that when you have high hopes, you often end up sorely disappointed. Perhaps, the liberal Democrats with whom American-born British commentator Janet Daley spoke in New York, would be less despondent today had their expectations not been so high two years ago.
Via Facebook, I recently e-mailed some Republican friends this article on the various prognosticators’ predictions of Republican gains in 1994. Most forecast about 25. Republicans won 54. Now, most are predicting Republicans will pick up about that many. “You do the math,” I quipped. Earlier today, Bruce linked two polls suggesting an even bigger blowout than those, who failed to anticipate the size of GOP save, in 1994, anticipate this year.
And while I’m predicting the GOP picks up 63-67 seats, while wondering if that number is “too conservative“, I urge a little bit of caution, not because I’m not optimistic, but because, well, I want to avoid disappointment. What if the Republicans “only” won 45 seats? The media could use that figure to spin the election a not really a Republican rout because Republican candidates underperformed expectations.
Last week, Jim Geraghty noted how the Washington Post‘s David Broder was preparing to dismiss GOP gains of 5o seats.
I am optimistic about today’s contests, but am trying to temper my optimism, so that I’m not too disappointed if we don’t pick the 70-seats that Geraghty anticipates. And if we do win that many seats, well, then so much more to celebrate. Unanticipated pleasures are often far sweeter than anticipated ones.