Opening Act: Here’s to the State of Mississippi

PITTSBURGH – I’m making my way gingerly back to Washington, where I hear everybody’s running towards a cliff. Good idea.

Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin talk to agonized Republicans.

Looking back at one of my favorite conservative theories: That Obama’s approval numbers were skewed because minorities liked him at high rates.

John Podhoretz’s column here is the best, frozen-in-amber preservation of the theory that the polls were skewed.

This guy sounds like an asshole. Was the economic outlook going to be so much better if we were getting a showdown between President Romney and the Democratic Senate?

A little-noticed election story: The failure of a “taxpayer funds for abortion” ballot measure in Florida. So began the 2011 GOP renaissance, so it ends.

Michael Grunwald asks whether the GOP will give up its “block everything” strategy, which only seems to pay off in midterms.

Others blame at least some of the GOP’s problems with voters of color on the unusual phenomenon of a President of color. They believe the party is gradually broadening its appeal, citing rising Hispanic stars like Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and newly elected Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina GOP Congressman, argues that his party doesn’t need to change its policies to pander to minorities; it just needs to work harder to sell its policies to them. “Are we more diverse now? Yes. By leaps and bounds? No,” he says. “We’ve got to reach out to a broader array of Americans. But we’ve still got to stay true to who we are and what we believe.”

Manu Raju and John Bresnahan watch Harry Reid’s victory lap.

The Nevada Democrat said he’d run for reelection in November 2016, when he’d be close to turning 77 years old. It would make him the longest-serving Senate leader since Montana Democrat Mike Mansfield, who was majority leader from 1961 to 1977.

The size of the Democratic majority means that Republicans have to 1) hope for a special election in Massachusetts, 2) win that election, and 3) win five more seats in 2014, when a lot of red states come up. Doable. But not so doable that it should inform their strategy. And in 2016, they have to defend WI, IL, and PA with a presidential campaign driving turnout.

Also, enjoy the most depressing story of the day.