GOP may win big despite itself

Two months before the November 1994 off-year elections, I and several dozen other Republican candidates were scrambling to raise funds necessary to have a chance of unseating our Democratic incumbent opponents.  Although we hoped to prevail, few if any of us really grasped what was about to happen.  The gathering tsunami that would sweep the GOP to a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in four decades on November 8th of that year, was a secret known only by then-Minority Leader Newt Gingrich and a tight-knit fraternity of associates and consultants. 

President Clinton’s unpopularity in the fall of 1994 was palpable; but few prognosticators or media pundits understood the depth of the disdain with which large segments of the voting population viewed the chief executive.  The economy was in far better shape than now, and although Clinton’s embrace of gun control that year, and of a large tax increase the year before, clearly had sapped his popularity, neither he nor most analysts expected he would wake up on November 9th facing a hostile House and Senate.

It was, more than anything, a tribute to the hard work and vision of Newt Gingrich that caused a seismic shift in American politics 16 years ago.  It was not simply that he worked his fingers to the bone in the months leading to the election; but his untiring efforts over the decade before, that provided the horsepower that undercut 40 years of Democratic control.

In 1994, the Republican Party nationally had vision, an articulated agenda, and well-known leadership.  The Democratic Party had control of a Congress that was a mile wide and an inch deep; led by a president blinded by his own hubris.  It turned out to be a toxic recipe for the incumbent party.

Here we are, eight election cycles later, and the respected Cook Political Report is predicting another major political shift similar to that of ‘94.  In his latest crystal ball gaze, Charlie Cook foresees a 40-seat shift in the House (enough for a GOP majority) and a possible nine-seat dislocation in the Senate (which would change the majority there, too).  Yet, few politically-knowledgeable Americans could articulate anything resembling a Republican agenda, vision or leadership; they couldn’t, because there simply is no national GOP vision, agenda or leadership. 

This time, it is the party in power that is doing it all on its own; the master of its own looming demise.  Fair or not, the Democratic Party nationally is being tarred with the broad brush that is the continuing bad economy.  The sour mood infecting the electorate is made bitterer still by the health care legislation championed by a hubris-infected president pushing against a citizenry clearly not on the same page. 

And while the Tea Party movement has failed thus far to realize the potential attributed to it a year ago, it clearly reflects very broad-based voter dissatisfaction.  Already, several Republican candidates who would not likely on their own be poised to win against Democratic incumbents, have successfully tapped into that sense of general unease to boost their poll numbers.  Just ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Unlike 1994, when the Democrats were caught napping, this time they see it coming already.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly is strong-arming her colleagues in safe districts to dig deep into their war chests to help more vulnerable members.  Attack ads are appearing early and often.  In another obvious effort to stanch the growing hemorrhage, the weakest and most vulnerable Democratic incumbents already are being cut loose. 

Whether all this will enable Pelosi and Reid to cling to small majorities in their respective bodies remains an open question; there are, after all, eight weeks remaining before Election Day.  But right now, despite themselves, the Republicans may reap what the Democrats have sown; and with very little effort.

88 comments Add your comment

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 13th, 2010
11:32 am

Supreme Being and NXS. you’re both right. as jconservative points out, there is no one culprit. the housing bubble/ecomomic mess is enjoys bipartsain “ownership”. the Clinton crowd felt “home ownership” was a right, and when the federal government all but required banks to relax lending standards, the banks lobbied to have bank laws re-written, and viola’; Steagall-Glass is repealed, and Wall Street becomes a casino for banks. as I noted last week, do you actually think John Q. Public has the power or influence to lobby Congress to either enact or repeal legislation? Banks do not care about home ownership beyond the the mortgage. The repeal of Stegall-Glass allowed the banks to “double-dip” (make money the old fashioned way; via interest and fees, but now also ’securitizing’ loans – many which were bad – and allowing the bad paper to be traded in the hazy derivitives market). you know folks, that “trillion worth of equity in home values” didn’t just disappear. it was “redistributed” from homeowners to banks and brokerage firms.

Dr. Pangloss

September 13th, 2010
11:38 am

… once a Democrat president was installed in office, more money has been spent in the last nineteen months than the entire prior history of the country (combined!) …

———————–

Does anybody believe an absurd statement like this? Rule of thumb: if it’s too crazy to believe, don’t believe it.

[...] no national vision, agenda or leadership, Libertarian columnist Bob Barr says, Republicans are poised to win big in November with very little effort, thanks to the party in [...]

j.o. childress

September 13th, 2010
12:27 pm

Its funny how the Republican party’s ideas has crashed the economy,and took just 8 years to do it. Now that we are in a long recession, they want to flip responsibility to the Democrats, who are not blameless. The Republican Party has not told what they would do in place of the Dems. At least the Tea Party, who i believe some are radical, tells you their ideas. Wake up people !

j.o. childress

September 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

Just read your comments JW… bravo !!!

America Lost

September 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Rupublican or Democrat, no matter who controls our government we still lose. The Dems always spend and tax, the Rupublians always cut government. so you have a vicious cycle that never ends. we the people, always end up with the worse end of the deal, while our elected officials prosper, we gain nothing. They just keep pointing fingers at each other and continue to do anything they please. Everyone on both sides of the isle have ran our country into the groud for many, many years. We’ve been sold out, everyone should have no doubts about that these days. I don’t think most of America is owned by americans. we’re just minions for our government, our elected officials are minions for foreign lobbyist. Anytime that the vast majority of citizens want something and the elected officials dont’ like it, they take it to the supreme court and have our wants and needs deemed unlawful. Any way you look at it, we the people lose.

NXS

September 13th, 2010
1:38 pm

Southern Living: I accept that both parties are to blame and I think my posts reflect that. But as a liberal/progressive (and I mean that in a good way) I am pretty fed up with with the constant barrage that ALL of our nation’s financial ills are due to A) FreddieMae and Fanny Mac B) President Obama and C) the Democrats in Congress. What a crock! People on the right who continually use the Gen. Sherman approach to politics are starting to find out that liberals will call their bluff and set the record straight when necessary. Supreme Being’s post was just another example of a simplistic, right-wing, partisan response to a very complex issue.

Supreme Being: You post was a FOX moment IMHO. Indeed, your FM/FM synopsis has been pushed on FOX and the AM radio echo chamber ever since the recession started. I know, I watch it sometimes… although more for comedic effect, and my MANY conservative friends bring up this same talking point ad nauseum. Further, to answer your question, the derivatives markets and credit default swaps were a direct result of the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

Paleo, your synopsis is a bit in err. Banks and conservatives were lobbying for repeal of G-S well before Clinton took office. It failed to be repealed in 1987. So it was not a response to his policies.

And I would like to add that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which is a 30-year old Act, btw, did not “force banks to make bad loans” as many on the right CONTINUALLY state, nor did any of the subsequent amendments made to CRA during Clinton’s admin.

So maybe someone here can please show me where in the CRA this completely bogus talking point comes from. Finally, the distribution proportions of distressed and failed mortgages crosses pretty equally among low, middle, and high income brackets. So blaming it all on bad loans to poor inner city black people (the general undercurrent of this right-wing talking point) really doesn’t hold any water… does it? How about predatory banks and mortgage companies telling people who made $150K/year they could afford a $500-600K McMansion. Think the CRA had anything to do with that? I think not!

Mitzymy

September 13th, 2010
1:46 pm

All of the newscasters say that the repubs are going to win 30,40 seats back in November. How do they know? The thing is, they are trying to brain wash everyone to vote repub. The repubs are the reason we are in this mess. This is the fruit of their ideas, which they will immediately put into play if they become the majority again. They have been asked over and over again “what are your plans” and they refuse to say, because they have none. They just want to be re-elected. Their only plans are to continue to say”no” to everything that comes up. Sure, there has been a lot of spending, but it took that to keep from going into another depression. If Obama is voted out of office, and things turn around before the repubs can overturn what he has put into play, they will take credit for it, when they haven’t done one darn thing to help the country. They are disgusting.

DawgDad

September 13th, 2010
2:10 pm

Perspective, people. This is NOT 1994. The Dems haven’t just shot themselves in the foot, they’ve blown both legs off. When the opposition is self-destructing you don’t engage them, you stay out of their way.

There is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, essentially a protracted platform/leadership battle between conservatives of all ilk and the liberal Republic establishment elites. This is a good thing; responsible hard-working people are trying to take their country back before it is sold down the drain completely. We don’t need a Newt Gingrich to lead the charge in 2010, though his contributions are welcome. Conservatives will not agree on every policy nuance (we are not monolithic), yet there is nearly universal consensus on the needed basic shift in political ideology driving our nation and other politically-influenced institutions.

People who have worked hard all their lives (mainly in the private sector), led responsible lives, and paid their taxes are at wits end, and no longer willing to be sold out and robbed and openly scorned by their elected leaders. The moderates and independents on the fence have seen the Dems do exactly what we told them they would do when they and Obama gained unchecked control of the Federal government, and they don’t like it, either. There is no hope and change, there are no bridges, there is just tyranny. No, this isn’t 1994; it’s much closer to 1984, in a fictional sense.

Geoff

September 13th, 2010
2:15 pm

GOP will most likely win several tight races due to the public’s disgust with Congress (Nancy and Harry). One thing that needs to change soon is the way candidates can fundraise. Text messaging is definitely the next step. Check out the post on the potential SMS has in political campaigns: http://smartmediagroup.com/text-to-give-the-future-of-political-fundraising-2/

DawgDad

September 13th, 2010
2:19 pm

“How about predatory banks and mortgage companies telling people who made $150K/year they could afford a $500-600K McMansion. Think the CRA had anything to do with that? I think not!”

Let’s assume you are correct. Then, why in heavens did the Dem Congress bail out the largest banks and financial institutions instead of making them swallow their medicine? I’ll tell you why, because they saw an opportunity to consolidate power and control of international banking and finance, and cover the tracks of their complicity in the process. They are in bed together, and this incestuous relationship which compromises one our our constitutional system’s basic checks and balances on government power needs to be destroyed.

Old Man

September 13th, 2010
2:21 pm

Supreme being. Please explain what an income derivative is, I’d love to learn from you, not google. However, would you and your republican fox news/hate radio parrots please STOP telling us “what we need is….”

Church of the Latter Day Dude

September 13th, 2010
3:04 pm

Ever since somebody told me that Bob Barr was the identical twin of Dr. Everett Scott from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I can’t stop laughing.

Far out, man.

dave

September 13th, 2010
3:13 pm

The Children’s Crusade: Draft your Mallrat today – did you feel the same way when you saw the “Bush is Hitler” posters?

dave

September 13th, 2010
3:15 pm

Mitzymy – Their plan is to undo as much of what Barry has done as they can until 2012. Then we really go to work. Works for me and about 60% of the rest of the nation.

Lack-o-Leadership

September 13th, 2010
3:30 pm

@ America Lost. Not true Republicans do not “always cut Government”. As a matter of fact they merely talk about it, threaten it but have as yet to actually CUT Government spending. When they had complete control of the Presidency and both houses they spent like drunken sailors and made no cuts. Unfortunately “pork” is something BOTH sides of the isle make their living on.

Jefferson

September 13th, 2010
3:38 pm

The GOP has no credibility.

Eric

September 13th, 2010
5:06 pm

Right, the GOP doesn’t offer much, but the Dems have been going against the grain for too long. Thus, an upset in the making.

Al Gore

September 13th, 2010
5:07 pm

I can’t believe that all everyone is concerned about is teh GOP and no one cares about global warming.

Supreme Being

September 13th, 2010
5:10 pm

Old man…a derivative is a fancy name for hedging (insuring) financial contracts. And what we need is to get that moron who has never held a real job, paid an employee or managed a business out of the white house

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 13th, 2010
5:43 pm

NXS, error noted. at the very least, perhaps the opportunistic and politically savvy Clinton was aware of Big Bank’s desire to repeal S-G and as any good horsetrader (oxymoron) is wont to do, exploited this to further his ‘everyone gets a home’ agenda. but, banks did not become banks by rash deals, and sufficeth to say; the repeal of S-G helped the banks (as was their desire) more so than any potential political legacy it afforded Clinton.

Real Athens

September 13th, 2010
6:18 pm

Dawg Dad:

T.A.R.P. is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector which was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. It is the largest component of the government’s measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis. It was the brainchild of then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson.

Republicans and Democrats alike voted to pass this monstrosity. Do not revise history to support an argument.

Sunraynews | Top US news

September 13th, 2010
6:36 pm

[...] taxes on the rich help or hurt the US economy?MiamiHerald.comFOXNews -JoongAng Daily -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 2,611 news [...]

Independent

September 13th, 2010
7:10 pm

It has been said a lot that 50% of Americans pay no income tax. I just found out today that 66% of all COMPANIES pay no income tax. Including some that made a lot of profit (they moved it offshore to keep it from being taxed).

Dr. Pangloss

September 13th, 2010
7:49 pm

I wonder whether many people are really going to wind up voting Republican when so many GOP candidates are just plain loopy.

Marco Rubio–CBO says his ideas would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt between 2011 and 2020.

Sandy Adams–wants to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments.

Daniel Webster–wants to institute covenant marriage (marriage you couldn’t get out of)

Sharron Angle–thinks black shirts are of the devil and talks about the need for a 2nd Amendment solution, which I guess means killing a lot of people because you don’t like your taxes

Rand Paul–just plain repulsive in his views on civil rights

Dr. Pangloss

September 13th, 2010
8:31 pm

And then there’s the plethora of candidates–mainly Republicans but some Democrats–who feel compelled to brandish a gun in their ads. See them at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129302293

Is anybody with half a brain going to vote for somebody who’s playing cowboy that way?

Old Man

September 13th, 2010
8:43 pm

Supreme Being “a derivative is a fancy name for hedging (insuring) financial contracts.”

Thanks for demonstrating that you don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. As if further proof was needed.

WideAwake

September 13th, 2010
8:51 pm

I will vote No to he Party of NO

whocares

September 14th, 2010
12:31 am

If anything I learned over the past 10 years in this country, is that WE are getting dumber and dumber each year. We no longer have any common sense, probably our bad education is to blame, greed has took over our morals and values. We can’t even make any educated decisions any more because we are too dumb to do research and found out the real facts ourselves, instead we are just listening to what all these lying politicians telling us. What are they really doing the Republicans all they do is cut each other down, call each other and others names. NOBODY is focusing on real issues it all comes down to fear, hate, division. We might as well just have another Civil War that is the mood in America right now. United We Stand??? We stand United as long as the upper crust is doing well that’s what it really boils down too people that do not have much are used to dealing with this, it’s the folks that lived in luxury and unappreciative that have the issues because they can’t handle any type of distress, so anybody that sells them a fairy tale, they are on it no matter how stupid it sounds!

The Great and Powerful Community Organizer

September 14th, 2010
7:42 am

I enjoy forcing things down the American people’s throats. So what if they don’t want it? The little peons, I am so much smarter than they— I was, after all, a Community Organizer.

Realist

September 14th, 2010
7:48 am

Dr. Pangloss

September 13th, 2010
7:49 pm
I wonder whether many people are really going to wind up voting Republican when so many GOP candidates are just plain loopy.

Are you forgetting the party of Cynthia McKinney (9/11, inside job), Hank Johnson (Guam will tip over), Sheila Jackson Lee (We planted that flag on Mars), Dennis Kucinich (His encounter with the UFO), Alcee Hastings (”there ain’t no rules around here..we just making them up as we go)?

Realist

September 14th, 2010
7:51 am

Jefferson

September 13th, 2010
3:38 pm
The GOP has no credibility

The Democrat Party has it?

mike

September 14th, 2010
8:00 am

I’ll be glad when the GOP and the Tea Buggers win and take over. When they finish running this country into the ground I guess all the morons complaining about President Obama will be satisfied. Never seen so much hate in this country. But did you really expect anything different from the majority people in this country.

songbird

September 14th, 2010
10:23 am

I hope the Repubs retake the House, not the Senate, which is less likely. then when the economy doesn’t improve immediately, we will see how all the sheep that voted them back into office feel then. It will be fun watching it.

Barring The Truth

September 14th, 2010
12:20 pm

Barr – You are wrong again. Don’t you ever tire of being wrong?

While the republicans did win because they were upset with Clinton, it wasn’t the taxes or the gun control or anything else that you like to tout. It was Monica L. Pure and simple.

Your PR republicans paraded the Monica issue every day and every night and stirred up as much hatred as possible for Clinton. That is what happened.

Now, you want your ditto-heads to think it has anything to do with real issues? Please.

You republicans can only run and win on hate issues: hate the gays, hate the mexicans, hate the muslims, hate the immigrants, hate the …..

Republicans cannot run on issues because rational people don’t agree with you. They can only run on emotional issues – primarily hate.

Dr. Pangloss

September 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

And then there’s Christine O’Donnell–thinks whacking off is the same as adultery.

Lee

September 14th, 2010
9:25 pm

The only real hope is that Washington becomes gridlocked with Republicrats controlling one branch of Congress and the Demopubs controlling the other. That way, at least the worst of the worst legislation will not make it through.

When one party controls the legislative and executive branches, the taxpayer takes it up the ……

AJMD

September 14th, 2010
10:20 pm

So far, 95% of Republicans are more of a “Democrat-Lite” in their political views, supporting big-government socialism, only a bit LESS than their opponents. In addition, they support police-state tactics to enforce prohibition and “Christian” morality, instead of leaving such MORAL issues to the Church to enforce on its membership, rather than the Government to enforce on every citizen. Crimes with actual victims are the government’s business; issues of character and morality do better left solely to the Church to enforce WITHIN their membership. Don’t believe it? See how well we’ve done on ‘maintaining intact families’, and ‘family values’ and the ‘drug war’ since the government took over ‘morality’ – they’ve done the same high-quality job they did with health care, public schools, and everything else they touch.

Libertarians, or Republicans who actually understand FREEDOM, and have the gonads to stand for freedom vs. just another version of statism, are the only ones who offer anything other than “Democrat-Lite”.