You gotta hand it to conservative gabbers: they don’t often lose touch with their long-term objectives. Here’s Hugh Hewitt quickly pocketing the “Romney surge” as though it is an established and irreversible fact, and then moving right along to the next hill:

[Andrew] Sullivan is right to mirror the panic among the Chicago Gang. The slide will deepen, and many downticket Democrats are going to get caught in the collapse. Thank goodness.

The Washington Post reports that there is no “wave” forming. When you show me the Post story predicting a wave in 2010, and I’ll credit their assessment.

You have to unpack those spare assertions to see how much spin is going on: Andrew Sullivan isn’t “mirroring” any panic within the “Chicago Gang;” he’s perfectly capable of panicking on his own, and he’s publicly disagreeing with the Obama campaign’s assessment of the debates and their significance. You can argue about the persistence of the brief polling surge for Romney, but there is zero objective evidence it will “deepen.” Maybe Romney’s strengthened position, if it continues, will provide some help on the margins to downballot Republicans (and it definitely will if the kind of party ID numbers in the Pew poll occur on Election Day), but at the moment most honest Republicans don’t see exactly where they are going to come up with a Senate majority. And finally, anyone who really thinks 2010 is a reliable precursor of 2012 know zilch–or is pretending to know zilch–about the inherent differences between turnout patterns in midterm and presidential elections.

Kevin Drum published an exasperated post this morning arguing that there is a “hack gap” between the two parties that works to the detriment of Democratic candidates. I’ll address that later on today, but I will stipulate that Republican hacks are as a rule more impressively nimble, and less encumbered by self-doubt or objective reality. They eventually pay a price in self-delusion, but it must be convenient to open every book knowing its ending.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.