Let's assume Kerry wins a close one in 2004.
Here are the positives for the GOP:
- No Hillary in 2008.
- Since the GOP is almost certain to hold both Houses of Congress in 2004, they stand a good chance of picking up even more seats in 2006 (an off-year election).
- Kerry will claim he deserves the credit for the economic recovery that is already happening. But he will also have to deal with the deficit. He will do so by raising taxes. This is a great issue for the Republicans in 2008 ("We cut your taxes; John F. Kerry raised them!".
- The Social Security/Medicare issue will be even more obvious in 2008. And the Democrats will be even weaker. Voters under 50 will support reform, leaving Kerry to either support needed cuts to the program, or to support doing nothing. Either way, he looks like an asshole. Advantage: GOP.
- The terrorists will surely strike sometime between 2005 and November of 2008. The GOP can blame Kerry, regardless of his actual policies, for allowing America to be weak in the face of terror. Advantage: GOP.
- Either Mayor Rudy or Dr. Frist looks pretty good against Kerry in 2008.
So. Bush losing in 2004 does not severely hurt the GOP in the long-term. It just makes JEB Bush unelectable to the White House. Which is fine by me.