Not that he’d admit it, for his own pride’s sake. Typically speaking, you talk about the next Presidential election when you’re pretty much certain that the current midterm election is going down the drain for your side. Which is one reason why the Democrats were so eager to get us talking about 2012 early: they’re big believers in sympathetic magic over there, so they were hoping that we’d get into the habit of just conceding 2010 right off the bat*.
As t0 Beinart’s thesis (“defeated parties become more extreme”)… well. That argument assumes that Bob Dole was more extreme than George HW Bush: John Kerry was more extreme than either Al Gore or Bill Clinton; and, for that matter, that Bill Clinton was more extreme than Michael Dukakis. It also assumes that Beinart’s typical reader is sufficiently below the triple-digit IQ threshold that he or she won’t notice those minor little flaws in Beinart’s theory – but then, the man does write for the Daily Beast these days.
PS: I haven’t removed the bookmark because I’m lazy, that’s why.
*There are times when I wish we had a socially acceptable emoticon to represent the Hawaiian good-luck symbol.