IT’S ALWAYS GOOD NEWS FOR REPUBLICANS…. The lead story on the Politico today ponders the likelihood of a “Republican comeback.”

For the first time since their 2006 election drubbing, top Republicans see signs — however faint — of a political resurgence over the next year.

The Politico‘s Jim VandeHei and Jonathan Martin concede this “sounds absurd,” but proceed to spend another 2,000+ words exploring why a Republican comeback is “plausible” and “might not be as far-fetched as it seems.”

Substantively, the piece raises some legitimate points, but hardly offers the GOP a roadmap back to the American mainstream. VandeHei and Martin, for example, note that Republican leaders have come to realize that it’s in their interests to “distance themselves a bit from George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.” The same piece adds, however, that the party has done a “poor job of doing so.”

Similarly, the Politico article argues that Republicans need to “find a way” to appeal to younger voters and minority communities. That’s true, as far as it goes, but it’s not exactly a constructive tip for the GOP.

But strategic advice aside, one of the striking aspects to all of this is just how poorly timed the idea is.

Last week, two major national polls asked respondents whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the major political parties. The GOP not only fared poorly, but had the lowest ratings ever recorded in NYT/CBS or WSJ/NBC polls.

In a WaPo/ABC poll released yesterday, Republicans hardly fared any better: “Obama maintains leverage on these issues in part because of the continuing weakness of his opposition. The survey found the favorability ratings of congressional Republicans at their lowest point in more than a decade. Obama also has significant advantages over GOP lawmakers in terms of public trust on dealing with the economy, health care, the deficit and the threat of terrorism, despite broad-based Republican criticism of his early actions on these fronts.”

The stage is set for a Republican “comeback”? Really?

I suppose in a nowhere-to-go-but-up kind of sense, that’s reasonable, but under the circumstances, it’s a stretch.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.