The Politico lead this morning with a piece on how incoming freshman Republicans were “vow[ing] not to repeat 1994.” But the funny thing is that for anyone who remembers 1994, the quotes from the newly elected folks sounds pretty much exactly like the crew from 1994. The message they’ve absorbed is 1) don’t request earmarks, 2) don’t get indicted and 3) don’t get caught having an affair. What they are pledging to do is not go native, not compromise and push for big changes fast.Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) says that in comparison to 1994: “We can’t fail again. Our class is larger, and I think our class is more committed.”
Allen West (R-FL) says: “”I think the difference for the class of 2010 is that we’re not going to get 10 years. We have got to turn this thing around in two years or at least start showing the indicators that we’re going on the right track. I think the first 90 to 120 days are going to be very important, and it’s going to set the tone. The American people are not patient right now.”
In other words, while John Boehner, both temperamentally and by dint of having lived through the first round of this, seems very attuned to the dangers of running headlong into the White House along the 1995/government shutdown model, something like a third of the members of his caucus seem to see things very differently. Of course, just like the lessons of Vietnam, with respect to 1994, not everyone agrees on what the lesson is. But if the lesson is not to take the results of a midterm election as a mandate to turn the government upside and run headlong into a Democratic president, I’m not sure they’ve learned it.
(ed.note: I can’t say why. And I don’t remember the exact wording. But the piece seems to have been revised significantly from its original form this morning, taking some of the edge off the ‘vow not to repeat’ angle.)