Sssshhhh..... don't mention the Democratic landslide......

Can the Democrats take back the House in November? Whisper it quietly, but the new question might soon become "by how much" will we win. So pervasive is the pessimism within the Democratic party, and so mighty is seen to be the tactical superiority of Republican cut and run machine, that commentators are very cautious about predicting a big shift. But, gradually, they are beginning to. Veteran poll watcher Thomas Mann was among the first to do so last month when he wrote that "we could see a national tide in November that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority." In the last few days a few more voices have been added. Yesterday, Chris Cillizza on the excellent Washington Post "The Fix" blog, quoted arguments that ongoing Democratic poll leads allow us to "conclude that a Democratic wave is building that will sweep Republicans out of a House majority in November."

"If you take an average of the last three or four polls, because any one can be an outlier in either direction, you can determine which way the wind is blowing, and whether the wind speed is small, medium, large or extra-large," said [Polster Charlie] Cook. "The last three generics that I have seen have been in the 18 or 19 point range, which is on the high side of extra large. That suggests the probability of large Democratic gains."

Now, in this morning's Post, David Broder reports unheard of GOP weaknesses in the Ohio Governor's race. Another story reports that K Street Lobbyists are hiring Democrats, much in the same way that fund managers re-balance their equity portfolios in anticipation of changes in the market. So why doesn't the story get wider play? Three reasons occur to me. First, the only recent model for a change of leadership is 1994. The lack of either a Democratic Gingrich, or a Gingrich-like agenda, seems to convince analysts that a landslide isn't possible. Second, the almost mythic status of the GOP electoral machine, and the tactical masterminds who drive it, convince people not to be too hasty in writing them off. Finally, Democrats themeslves have a seemingly unshakeable belief in their own innability to promote a coherent, popular message. But perhaps, just perhaps, come November it will turn out that you don't need a Gingrich to win, that the GOP machine is out of gas, and that the Dems have run a more disciplined and organized campaign than anyone noticed.