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It's Not 1994 Redux, It's 1974 All Over Again

For those not old enough to remember (or are otherwise unfamiliar with the history), 1974 was the beginning of the Republican Party's sojourn in the electoral wilderness.

Democrats fall as fast as Nixon Republicans in 1974
By: Michael Barone
Senior Political Analyst
January 27, 2010
Washington Examiner.com


But more than health care legislation is in trouble. I have not seen a party's fortunes collapse so suddenly since Richard Nixon got caught up in the Watergate scandal and a president who carried 49 states was threatened with impeachment and removal from office.

The victory of a Democrat in the special election to fill Vice President Gerald Ford's House seat in February 1974 was a clear indication that the bottom had fallen out for the Republican Party. Brown's victory last week looks as if something similar has happened to the Democratic Party.

Many people ask me whether the Democrats are in as much trouble as they were in 1994. The numbers suggest they are in much deeper trouble, at least at this moment. Back in 1994 I wrote the first article in a nonpartisan publication suggesting that the Republicans had a serious chance to win the 40 seats necessary for a majority in the House. That article appeared in U.S. News & World Report in July 1994.

This year political handicapper Charlie Cook is writing in January, six months earlier in the cycle, that Republicans once again would capture the 40 seats they need for a majority if the House elections were held today. I concur. The generic vote question -- which party's candidates would you vote for in House elections -- is at least as favorable to Republicans as it was in the last month before the election in 1994.

Nothing is entirely static in politics, and opinions could change. Barack Obama could shift to the center, as Bill Clinton did after his party's thumping in 1994; the economy could visibly recover and start producing new jobs; a crisis like 9/11 and a good presidential response could boost the president and his party as 9/11 boosted George W. Bush and his party in 2001 and 2002.

I wouldn't bet on Obama moving to the center, as that would be a tacit admission of error:

Obama self portrait as Jesus

His hubris would never permit it.


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Comments (9)

Barry is a one-trick-pony. ... (Below threshold)

Barry is a one-trick-pony. Mistakes were made, but he won't accept blame for any of them. He doesn't know anything other than socialism, so no other solutions can/will occur to him.

You've got the tone-deaf ov... (Below threshold)

You've got the tone-deaf over-reaching Pelosi-Reid combo in congress to go along with a leader without leadership skills and no obvious political instincts in the oval office.

By god, I think they can do this. This being the dems self-destructing at a record pace.

They gained power by demonizing Bush and the repubs for their out-of-control spending, a jobless recovery, and of course the WOT.
Thanks to Bush's efforts, the WOT wasn't able to repeat the 9/11 attack on US soil and americans became more concerned about the economy. The 2008/2009 economic meltdown, caused largely by dem policies, was also pinned on Bush though he really didn't deserve the blame. Still, the dems, along with a media that never bothered to try and be fair, were successful in their complete takeover of the US govt.

And what have we had for the last year?
Spending so out of control that Bush and the repubs look like misers in retrospect. We've had politics more bitter and partisan than ever; back room deals, pay-offs to unions, and zero accountability. We've had "enemies" everywhere, insurance companies, wall st, Fox news, Rush, Palin, ad nauseum. And to top it off, the dems tried to ram a health industry take-over on an american public that was much more concerned about jobs.

People listened when the dems and Obama made their myriad promises. But the dems, as always, figure the american public is just too damn stupid to remember it all or notice what's really happening.

They've gone too far, spent too much and accomplished close to nothing - this with a super-majority. The dems have shown they cannot govern. Upcoming elections will show that the american public agrees.

Hopefully Barone is reading... (Below threshold)

Hopefully Barone is reading this right. But as he says near the end of the piece, November is a long way away and a lot could happen between then and now. No, I don't expect Obama to suddenly turn into Mr. Moderate but that's not the only thing that could affect election results.

The forecast looks pretty good right now. But don;t get cocky.

I wouldn't bet on ... (Below threshold)
I wouldn't bet on Obama moving to the center, as that would be a tacit admission of error:

More like defeat. We all know that admission would kill any chance that 0 would have even getting the party's nomination at the 2012 Democratic Convention. He would be shut out in the early primary of New Hampshire and the Iowa Caucus. Hell he is a Lame Duck now and he is fighting every moment that he will be.

He'll admit to an error whe... (Below threshold)

He'll admit to an error when Christopher Reeves walks.

Obama is in the first real ... (Below threshold)

Obama is in the first real fight of his life and in those situations you fall back on your fundamentals. Radical, radical, radical ...
Watch his actions not his words ... He was able to campaign as a moderate because in a campaign you don't do anything. You don't have to vote or sign bills or have to make statements than can be checked months later. You just get to talk and talk and talk ...
I'm sure we'll get alot of talk tonight ... but come November I doubt that a single thing talked about tonight will have come to fruition ... O-5bama's mouth will be another anchor around the Dems neck in November ...

I agree that November is a ... (Below threshold)

I agree that November is a long way away, but one good thing going for us is the RNC really hasn't had to do anything to make the dem's fall from grace. They did it themselves by ignoring and/or making fun of regular citizens. So the republicans really have to have one really bad incident to take the focus off Barry. ww

In the real Obama world, th... (Below threshold)

In the real Obama world, the portrait and mirror would switch places.

Gotta admit that Rockwell c... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Gotta admit that Rockwell cartoon is clever.






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