[T]he House map will allow the Republican majority to survive with almost all white voters for a long time..... So the danger for Republicans isn’t that they’ll lose the House.... It’s that they’ll create an intra-party orthodoxy so strong it will prevent them from nominating a candidate who can distance himself from Steve King’s racial ideology and Paul Ryan’s economic ideology. In the meantime, they can inflict an awful lot of damage to the country at very little cost to themselves.
I'm not quite as pessimistic as Chait regarding the House map; a major meltdown of the debt-ceiling core might well engender just enough voter condemnation to doom just enough GOP Housers. There is no doubt, however, about the slimness of these odds or the narrowness of that path.
Even granted optimal electoral conditions, the midterm is going to be tight for Obama & Dems. Yet the prospect of "optimal" is slipping away--especially among younger voters, whose approval of the president is dropping, quite possibly because of the sustained NSA controversy. Now while it's true that younger voters can be notoriously unreliable as voters, it's also true that they're a vital element in any effective Democratic coalition.
In other words, the political need for a civil-libertarian-leaning resolution of the continuing NSA squabble is virtually self-evident. And if you cringe at the notion of the NSA having to pull in its horns a bit, just look at it this way: Can you imagine any greater threat to the welfare and security of the United States than another two years of controlling Republican nihilism?