With elections looming in November, Republicans are counting on President Barack Obama's unpopularity to deliver them control of the Senate. They're not running on an agenda, refusing even in broad outline to say how they would reform the tax code or replace Obama's health-care law.
Some conservatives are unhappy about that. National Review complained in an editorial today that this approach "will not maximize the Republican opportunity, because it does nothing to dispel the public's justifiable doubts about whether Republican rule would be good for the country."
This strategy is essentially the same one the party followed in 1998. That year, Republicans broke a long historical pattern in which the party that doesn't hold the White House tends to make gains in the middle of a president's second term by actually losing seats. That was the year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Conventional wisdom holds that Republicans ran on a platform of removing President Bill Clinton from office and lost because the public hated the idea.