'World News' Political Insights: Shift to GOP May Boost President Obama in '12

VIDEO: The president rallies the Democratic base as midterm elections approach.
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If you're looking for the settling of the election-season dust to clear up the political picture, keep looking.

With the end of the campaign season will come a new dynamic in Washington, with the potential for even more partisan gridlock than the public has witnessed over the past two years.

It's an eventuality that leaders in both parties are quietly preparing for -- and that Democrats anticipate as having a potential long-term upside that they seldom admit to publicly.

If Republicans take control of the House but not the Senate, as now seems likely, the three major legislative institutions will find themselves at cross-purposes for much of the final two years of President Obama's first term.

The House will be under narrow control of the GOP, with a majority delivered by a fresh crop of outsider candidates for whom "bipartisanship" is code for selling out.

VIDEO: Rick Klein
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In the Senate, the larger Republican minority will be able to effectively block anything GOP leaders insist on, with centrists in both parties less influential by dint of that math.

The White House's focus, meanwhile, will turn quickly toward Obama's reelection. After an active two years with major domestic accomplishments, the president will have to play small-ball on big issues to avoid endless partisan confrontations.

No party or politician is likely to look particularly good under that set of circumstances. But Democrats can at least take solace in the fact that divided control of government brings divided responsibility -- as well as divided blame for what voters perceive as not working.

The national angst that's driving this campaign isn't directed at Democrats so much as it is at Washington. If Republicans control one of the major levers of power over the next two years, the president will have a more influential foil to position against, and Democrats from the White House on down will be able to blame members of the opposite party for the gridlock.

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Republicans leaders know their party is in favor for what it's not, more than for what it is; accordingly, the GOP is campaigning on something close to a promise of inaction.

Knowing well that a new crop of tea party-inspired Republicans isn't coming to Washington to work with Democrats, Republican leaders in Congress are signaling that their primary role will be to oppose the Democratic agenda.

"I'm going to be very, very clear with people around the country: There's going to be no compromise on ending the era of runaway federal spending, borrowing, bailouts, takeovers, deficits and debts," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the third-ranking House Republican, told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on Friday.

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"There's no compromise on repealing Obamacare lock, stock and barrel," Pence added. "There's going to be no compromise on changing the course back to fiscal responsibility, limited government and reform."

While maintaining publicly that they believe they will retain control of the House and Senate, some Democrats have begun quiet planning for what Washington will look like under Republican control of at least one house of Congress.

A few areas for genuine bipartisanship may exist, in areas including education, trade policy and some facets of energy exploration and production.

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