Then the government shut down. Now, instead of sharpening their attacks on Democrats, Republicans on Capitol Hill are being forced to explain why they are not to blame and why Americans should trust them to govern both houses of Congress when the one they do run is in such disarray. Complicating the prospects, the grass-roots political force that has provided so much of the energy for conservative victories over the last four years the Tea Party is aggressively working against Republicans it considers not conservative enough.
As a result, many Republicans are openly worrying that the fallout from the fiscal battles paralyzing the capital will hit hardest not in the House, which seems safely in Republican hands thanks to carefully redrawn districts, but in the Senate. Republican infighting, they say, has given Democrats the cover they need to deflect blame and keep their majority...With the elections still a year away, it is impossible to tell what other factors might alter the field. But Republicans, Democrats and independent experts all agree that the government shutdown has added one more cross for Republicans to bear...The Republicans have little margin of error. A new analysis by Cook Political showed how difficult the math was. The party would need to win five of the six Senate seats considered most competitive to recapture a majority. All six of those seats are in states that Mitt Romney won in 2012, but as Mr. Cook put it,The path is very, very, very narrow.
For their part, the incumbent Democrats who will face off against the Republicans who have embraced the shutdown strategy seem to feel that they have caught a lucky break. When told the other day that Republicans were hopeful they could topple her by attacking her insistence that Democrats not give in on the health law or the debt ceiling, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana was incredulous.Oh, really? she said.Oh, really?