David Brooks writes in the New York Times:

The Republicans may still blow it. If President Obama is flexible and they don’t meet him partway, Republicans would contribute to a recession that would discredit them for a decade.

Is that right? My guess would that if the economy disintegrates in the next four years, this would hurt Obama and the Democrats. The real risk to the Republicans if they do not meet Obama partway is that, by refusing to negotiate, they could lose some ability to influence policy.

In any case, the party out of power typically has a medium-term motivation to wreck the economy, but I assume they are public-spirited enough for this motivation to not be too strong. I just don’t see the evidence for Brooks’s claim that an Obama recession would discredit congressional Republicans.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science and director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University.