The Times' Adam Nagourney throws GOP a bone...

Setting the stage for calling Dems losers if they win but fail to meet expectations
Yesterday at Shakespeare's Sister, we were wondering how long it would take before we started hearing that if the Democrats don't achieve a massive victory, it's really a win for Republicans. Well, the voting hasn't even begun in earnest, and enter Adam Nagourney with "For Democrats, Even a Gain May Feel Like a Failure."
In most midterm elections, an out-of-power party picking up, say, 14 seats in the House and five seats in the Senate could call it a pretty good night.
But for Democrats in 2006, that showing would mean coming up one seat shy of taking control of both the Senate and the House. And it would probably be branded a loss -- in the case of the House, a big one.
...Some Democrats worry that those forecasts, accurate or not, may be setting the stage for a demoralizing election night, and one with lasting ramifications, sapping the party's spirit and energy heading into the 2008 presidential election cycle.
"Two years ago, winning 14 seats in the House would have been a pipe dream," said Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic organization. Now, Mr. Bennett said, failure to win the House, even by one seat, would send Democrats diving under their beds (not to mention what it might do to all the pundits).
"It would be crushing," he said. "It would be extremely difficult."
[Charlie] Cook put it more succinctly. "I think you’d see a Jim Jones situation -- it would be a mass suicide," he said.
Good lord. Such melodrama. Such lip-smacking, mouth-watering melodrama. My, grandmedia, what big teeth you have!

All the better to devour the Democrats, my dear.

It's almost impossible to imagine how unassailably crushing the Democrats' electoral victory would have to be to preclude the conclusion that, even if they win, they still really lost.

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Melissa McEwan writes and edits the blog Shakespeare's Sister.