I was around
for the 1994 Republican Revolution. In a small way, I was part
of it. And there is no indication that 2006 is 1994, yet.
all, the landslide snuck up on the Democrats. Most of the political
class, and indeed even many Republicans did not sense that they
were on the verge of a political tsunami. Newt was virtually alone
in anticipating an earthquake.
Republicans have plenty of advance notice of their problems. And
their problems are profound - corruption, an uncertain economy
and a possible rebellion on the Medicare drug law. However, they
are now taking action, however cosmetic, to repair the Abramoff
damage. Expect the President to embrace reform in his State of
the Union Address. The Republicans are attempting to take a page
of their Enron playbook - get ahead of the reform parade even
if it is a tad bit disingenuous.
factor mitigating against the '94 comparison is that Democrats
are not yet clearly viewed as the reform party. Yes, the party
is advancing some important reforms. But, as of yet, they have
been timid in skewering their own sacred cows - earmarks, for
example. Newt knew that in order to be credible with the American
people , it was necessary to upset the apple cart in his own party.
Otherwise, folks see all parties as tainted. And the "we
did not receive Abramoff money, only tribe money" dodge doesn't
work. Democrats must be willing to be tough on some of their own
for the American people to believe they are true reformers.
problem of the Democrats is just as the Republicans are exposing
their weaknesses, so is the donkey. Over the past two months,
the Democrats have demonstrated in both the Alito nomination and
their dovishness on Iraq and surveillance, that they have learned
little from the last election. As
John McIntyre aptly pointed out on Real Clear Politics, Democrats
walked into a Rovian trap on the eavesdropping issue. For those
lefties who believe that this is just a wedge issue that was conjured
up in Rove's diabolical laboratory and assisted by heretical Democrats,
* The DNC
Chairman suggested that America couldn't win in Iraq.
* The House Democratic Leader embraced a plan for near-immediate
withdrawal from Iraq.
* The Senate Democratic Leader celebrated that the party blocked
the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
* The Party is objecting to a surveillance program of Al Qaeda.
force that can save the Republican Party is known as the Democratic
Party. In fact, the most effective Democratic '06 strategy may
be to go away, disappear, be invisible, and let the Republicans
other structural factors that mitigate against a 2006 version
of '94. Of course, if the economy collapses or there is another
Katrina, all bets are off. Democrats must also galvanize support
from centrist independents with an explicit "non-partisan"
appeal. Newt did this a decade ago with an appeal to the Perotistas.
it looks that Democrats will make gains, but not a takeover.