Republicans in a funk because of the defection of Arlen Specter should take heart from a lesson of history -- the last time either party had such a wide Senate margin was during the first two years of Jimmy Carter's term:
What history shows us is that a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic President, urged on by a liberal, blame-America-first Democratic Congress, is a prescription for political self-destruction. Leave Democrats to their own devices, and they will screw themselves politically, just when they are at the height of power.
I don't know. If a party has screwed up so badly that its best hope is that the other party will screw up even worse, that's a pretty desperate state of events. But if the Democrats do get Franken from Minnesota and end up with a filibuster-proof majority, whatever overreaching they do do, they will own, lock, stock and barrel. If the voters do see it as overreaching, they will vote to correct it, as they usually do.
Republicans won't come back unless they convince voters they have good ideas. Freed of the ability to play parliamentary-maneuvering games, maybe they can concentrate more on that.
Now, all they need are some good ideas.