October 21, 2008


Party Like It's 1964 (Richard Cohen, October 21, 2008, Washington Post)

A column, like a good movie, should have an arc -- start here, end there and somehow connect the two points. So this column will begin with the speech Condi Rice made to the Republican National Convention in 2000 in praise of George W. Bush and end with Colin Powell's appearance Sunday on "Meet the Press" in praise of Barack Obama. Between the first and the second lie the ruins of the GOP, a party gone very, very wrong.

...but they ought to at least know some of it. The prospect that 2008 is 1964 redux is hardly going to bother the GOP, 1966 Midterm Foreshadows Republican Era (Andrew E. Busch, July 2006, Ashbrook)
Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 election landslide, big Democratic gains in Congress, and the subsequent flood of liberal legislation flowing from Washington persuaded many observers that the Republican Party was nearly defunct. At best, they reasoned, it would take years for the GOP to reconstitute itself and regain relevance in the American system.

Two years later, Republicans were revivified and on the brink of an era of increasing political success, including near-domination of presidential elections that Democrats have occasionally overcome but have not yet ended four decades later.

Nor was 1964 an outlier: after winning in '48, Democrats were trounced in the '50 midterm and Harry Truman couldn't even stand for re-election in '52; whether he legitimately won in '60 or not, JFK was only saved from losing in '64 by Lee Harvey Oswald; 1976's victor, Jimmy Carter, lost his bid for re-election; and, following the Democrat sweep in '92, Democrats coughed up both chambers of Congress two years later, though Bill Clinton saved his own skin by shifting back to the Right. Little is more predictable than that if the Democrats sweep this November they'll act out on their pent up fury at liberalism's long decline and so appall the American people that it will usher in the next round of the conservative restoration.

It is understandable that voters might want to hit the pause button after a presidency as revolutionary and event-filled as George W. Bush's, the trick for the Left is grasping that pause isn't reverse. Color us skeptical that they can learn that lesson in the absence of yet another electoral drubbing in 2010 and a one term ride on the unicorn.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2008 7:58 AM
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