Plan B

It’s not an entirely original thought, but it’s still interesting that in a pending Sunday column (according to Politico, which has an advance copy), George Will is going to suggest that conservatives write off the 2012 presidential contest altogether, and concentrate on holding onto the House and winning control of the Senate:

Will argues that a Republican-controlled Congress would be able to strongly oppose the president’s agenda.

“If Republicans do, their committee majorities will serve as fine-mesh filters, removing President Obama’s initiatives from the stream of legislation … [A] re-elected Obama — a lame duck at noon next Jan. 20 — would have a substantially reduced capacity to do harm,” he says.

Will asserts that the GOP has a group of capable candidates waiting in the wings.

“From Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal to Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan, Republicans have a rising generation of potential 2016 candidates. … [T]he presidency is not everything, and there will be another election in the next year divisible by four,” he says.

You know, I’m an old enough donkey to remember an awful lot of cycles when prospects for my party nine months from Election Day looked pretty bad. But I don’t remember much of anybody publicly saying it was time to take a mulligan, focus on the down-ballot races, and look ahead four more years. Will must be feeling pretty certain about this, or woke up one morning in a really bad mood. Wish he had the power to make it official, and save us all a lot of trouble between now and November.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.