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2010 elections: 1994 all over again?
Newt Gingrich thinks 2010 is shaping up to be a repeat of 1994, when the GOP retook both houses of Congress in a sweeping landslide. Is the political environment really so similar?
 
Will Gingrich regain political clout in 2010?
Will Gingrich regain political clout in 2010?
Getty

The GOP is hoping its political future looks like its past. Newt Gingrich, the former House leader, is just one senior Republican noting political parallels between 2010 and 1994, when the GOP seized both the House and the Senate two years into Democrat Bill Clinton's first term. In 1994, Clinton's popularity was waning following an unpopular attempt at health-care reform. President Obama is in a similar fix—with his favorability ratings below 50 percent and the health-care law still proving divisive—and Democrats are working with strategists to avoid a 1994-style defeat. Is the GOP really headed for its next big landslide? (Watch Newt Gingrich promise a GOP takeover in the fall.)

Things are different in 2010: This is not 1994, say Sheri and Allan Rivlin in The Huffington Post. The main reason? Our health-care bill passed. Back then, Clinton's health-reform effort failed and the feeling that "Washington was broken" helped the GOP take Congress. The successful passing of health-care reform can help Democrats convince voters they really are working to make life better for all Americans.
"Congress is back: Time for Democrats to go on offense"

This isn't 1994 for Republicans. It's better: For the GOP, the political environment right now is "better than it was in the first half of April 1994," says former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour, quoted in CNN. Voters are "agitated" with the Democrats while "Republicans are energized"—and independents are moving to the right. The only problem is, the "election is not today." Republicans must keep momentum up if they want to retake Congress in November.
"Environment in '10 better than '94, says Barbour"

But the GOP is no longer the party of change: This is an "imprecise" comparison, say Adam Nagourney and Marjorie Connelly in The New York Times. While the Democrats are indeed about as unpopular now as they were 16 years ago, Republicans are not as well loved. The GOP was considered the "party of change" in 1994 after 40 years in the minority, but now Republicans are just as subject to the "generalized" anti-Washington anger as the Democrats.
"1994 Republican rout is casting shadow in 2010"

It's not just the GOP seeking a return to '94: The Tea Party wants in on the spirit of '94, too, says Sarah Rufca in Culture Map. That's why one group has published a "Contract From America," an agenda "borrowing heavily" from Gingrich's 1994 reforming "Contract With America." But while the Republicans won a "landslide victory" in '94, "almost none" of the bills in Gingrich's contract made it into law. Maybe relating "so closely to the 1994 movement" is a mistake.
"Name trouble: Tea Party aims for a 1994 moment"

 

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