Substance Isn't Necessary to Win.

To piggyback off of Tim's post, as much as I would love to believe this, it simply isn't true:

“I think this could be a seismic election,” Sen. McCain told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

“But we've got to give Americans a reason to be for us, rather than just against the Democrats and the president,” he said. “When you look at the approval ratings of Republicans, they're just as bad as Democrats. We've got to give [voters] a reason to be for us.”

In truth, as long as the economy is poor, Republicans really don't have to persuade voters of anything; it's simply enough that they aren't Democrats. The most recent Washington Post poll bears this out: By a three-point margin (40/37), voters trust the Democratic Party to do a better job at coping with the nation's problems, and by a nine-point margin (48/39), voters agree that the Democratic Party is more concerned with people like themselves. But among registered voters, 53 percent plan to vote for the Republican Party.

Republicans don't need to offer an alternative, since voters aren't actually looking for an alternative; they just want someone to vote against, and it's to Mitch McConnell's credit that he has positioned the GOP to capitalize on this blind urge to oppose the majority party. Of course, this could backfire; if Republicans capture the House this year and the economy doesn't improve, voter discontent could overwhelm their majority as well.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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