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Winning by losing?

In the last couple of days, the New York Times' Peter Baker and National Journal's Matthew Dowd have argued that Democrats losing the House could actually help President Obama as we begin to pivot to 2012.

Here's Baker:

The reality of presidential politics is that it helps to have an enemy. With Democrats controlling the White House and Congress, they shoulder responsibility for the country’s troubles. No amount of venting about George W. Bush or the filibuster rule has convinced the public otherwise. But if Republicans capture Congress, Mr. Obama will finally have a foil heading toward his own re-election battle in 2012.

Here's Dowd:

The president needs Republicans to pick up the House or the Senate so he can either: 1) Blame Republicans for what does or does not happen in the next Congress; or 2) Reach authentically across the aisle to get things done in a bipartisan way and tell his own party that he has to do it. Either scenario would help the president’s political standing going into his reelection.