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Doug Thompson: Memo to Republicans: Remember the real lessons of 1994

By DOUG THOMPSON
December 10, 2010

President Obama: He may even manage to do something right (Reuters)

When Republicans captured control of Congress in the 1994 elections, they misunderstood the mood of angry voters who threw out Democrats to vent their anger at both the party of the jackass and President Bill Clinton.

Instead of capitalizing on voter discontent, the pachyderm party used the election to run amuck with its extreme agenda and flexed non-existent political muscles trying to ram those extremes down American throats.

The GOP breezily predicted a one-term Presidency for Bill Clinton and putting more Republicans in both the House and Senate.

Didn’t work. Voters didn’t want Republican extremism. They just wanted a government that worked.

Now the party whose iconic symbol is an animal that is supposed to have a long memory is showing its usual short-term memory loss and bragging about how they plan to send Obama packing in 2012 and turn Washington into GOP city.

Smart people learn from their mistakes. Republicans are many things. Smart ain’t one of them.

Writes Rick Newman in U.S. News & World Report:

Empowered Republicans are wasting no time flexing their muscles, with a new deal on taxes that has forced President Obama to capitulate to a core GOP demand and agree to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Conservatives are giddy. Liberals are angry. Obama himself has the aura of a man glumly resigned to betraying his principles.

The Republicans’ big victory on taxes comes before the winners from the November midterms even sweep into Congress, where they will take control of the House of Representatives and strengthen their minority stance in the Senate. If the tax deal passes and becomes law, it will mark a startling shift in Obama’s agenda. Since being elected in 2008, Obama has favored an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class earners but not for the wealthy, yet he failed to get a Democrat-controlled Congress to pass his version of the tax extensions. The deal he finally got is like settling for a field goal after having a first down on the opponent’s five-yard line.

Republicans, however, should beware a false sense of power as they begin their efforts to remake the federal government. Washington is a notorious echo chamber where ideological soulmates tend to convince each other that they’re destined to lead the country in a new direction, only to have the country say no thanks. President George W. Bush learned that lesson after losing both houses of Congress to Democrats in 2006. Obama learned it in his first two years in office (or should have learned it, anyway).

Empowered Republicans are wasting no time flexing their muscles, with a new deal on taxes that has forced President Obama to capitulate to a core GOP demand and agree to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Conservatives are giddy. Liberals are angry. Obama himself has the aura of a man glumly resigned to betraying his principles.

The Republicans’ big victory on taxes comes before the winners from the November midterms even sweep into Congress, where they will take control of the House of Representatives and strengthen their minority stance in the Senate. If the tax deal passes and becomes law, it will mark a startling shift in Obama’s agenda. Since being elected in 2008, Obama has favored an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class earners but not for the wealthy, yet he failed to get a Democrat-controlled Congress to pass his version of the tax extensions. The deal he finally got is like settling for a field goal after having a first down on the opponent’s five-yard line.

Republicans, however, should beware a false sense of power as they begin their efforts to remake the federal government. Washington is a notorious echo chamber where ideological soulmates tend to convince each other that they’re destined to lead the country in a new direction, only to have the country say no thanks. President George W. Bush learned that lesson after losing both houses of Congress to Democrats in 2006. Obama learned it in his first two years in office (or should have learned it, anyway).

Republicans still have the advantage of a clueless Barack Obama at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama is no Bill Clinton. But he also is not dumb and there still is a chance that someone with some gray matter between their ears will get through his thick skill and teach him how to be enough of a President to capitalize on traditional GOP excess.

And Republicans have a history of blowing chances.

That historical fact alone may be enough to save the Democratic party.

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3 Responses to Doug Thompson: Memo to Republicans: Remember the real lessons of 1994

  1. griff

    December 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

    And of course, the resounding theme in all of this is which party will gain political advantage in the next election, which party will control Washington, which party will receive all the lobbyist attention, which party will win the keys to the rape chamber that is this federal government.

    The tax cut debate is as senseless and futile as a one-armed paper hanger. It will do nothing for the economy, nothing to bring back American jobs, nothing to reign in Wall Street looting, nothing to strengthen our failing currency, nothing to stem inflation and unemployment, nothing to reign in our trillion dollar Roman Imperialism, and nothing to bring our massive deficit under control.

    This is nothing more than a Hegelian exercise, the best we can expect from the best and brightest our Ivy League Washington braintrust can muster – tinkering with a monstrous tax code that needs to be scrapped all together and replaced with some thing fair and equal.

    • Carl Nemo

      December 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      Excoriating and spot-on my friend in thought…! : )

      Carl Nemo **==

  2. Carl Nemo

    December 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    This is madness. Thowing out one trashcan of ‘political garbage’ only to replace it with another that’s more than half full every election represents the definition of insanity. Our very system of politics in this country has been compromised by the wealthy elitists that pull the strings via their operatives known as lobbyists.

    Without a viable, uncompromised third party stepping forth with the necessary financial backing and a message that rings true to the hearts of all men and women for all time and places, then we are doomed to the death of a frog in a soon to boil pot of water.

    Republicans + Democrats = Republicrats= impending “death to America”….period!

    Carl Nemo **==