As a political scientist, I had three problems with the article.
First, the serving in the House is the single best path to the United States Senate. Looking at the current membership 112th Congress, 46 senators served as a House member as their last job prior to moving to the Senate. No other career path comes close. 13 served in some statewide elected office other than Governor, and another 10 served as their state’s Governor. 10 had no elected office experience at all, 9 served in the state legislature, and 12 had some elected office at the local level. The New York Times underestimates the skills House members obtain and hone during their service which make them strong Senate candidates.
Second, the article presumes that because Americans hate Congress, they hate their own member of Congress. Anyone who has taken my introduction to American politics class should be familiar with the concept of Fenno’s Paradox. Fenno notes that many Americans hate the institution of Congress, but like their member of Congress. The following graph—which I used in a lecture just last week—illustrates the point clearly. Here in Montana, both Senator Tester and Congressman Rehberg have job approval ratings well to the north of the Congress.
Fenno's Paradox: Ratings of Congress and Incumbents in the American National Election Studies, 1990-2008.
Finally, serving in a state as the lone House member is very different from serving in the House from a state with multiple House members. Generally speaking, the key difficulty facing a House member moving from a congressional district to a statewide office is moving from a more politically homogenous political entity to one that is more heterogenous, representing a more diverse constituency. The same rules do not apply, obviously, to House members representing an entire state. Sure, the House is a more partisan political institution and the name of the representative game is slightly different in how Washington Work is approached. But the task of representing a state—in a single-member House delegation—is not entirely dissimilar from serving in the U.S. Senate (but see Richard Fenno's book, When Incumbency Fails, on North Dakota Senator Mark Andrews who, after having served many years in the House, was elected to the Senate in 1980 and lost reelection in 1986).
This is not to say that Congressman Rehberg or Congressman Berg in North Dakota don't have a tough path ahead of them. But that path is not necessarily more difficult because of their service in the House. The conventional political science wisdom would suggest otherwise.