The Past as Political Prelude

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Politics junkies love to go for the historical analogy, and in analyzing campaigns and elections the media is quick to cough up conventional wisdom based on past patterns. This year, it’s all about 1994, as in will the first midterm elections of the Obama presidency wind up like the first of the Clinton administration? Will the GOP sweep back into power, or will the course of human events take us in a different direction.

There are indeed plenty of parallels between 1993-94 and 2009-10. Here are 10 similarities I came up with. If the parallels are any guide, we’ll be writing about Speaker Boehner next year…

1993-1994 Event ?? 2009-2010 Event
1. Scandal surrounds Ways & Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski ?? 1. Scandal surrounds Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel
2. White House pushing to end ban on gays in the military ?? 2. White House pushing to end ban on gays in the military
3. Democratic Sen. Richard Shelby helps GOP obstruct Democratic agenda ?? 3. Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson helps GOP obstruct Democratic agenda
4. Deficit worries weighing on politicians, public ?? 4.Deficit worries weighing on politicians, public
5. Rep. John Kasich emerges as GOP deficit and spending hawk ?? 5. Rep. Paul Ryan emerges as GOP deficit and spending hawk
6. Talk radio fuels GOP upswing ?? 6. Talk radio plus Drudge plus Fox News fuel GOP upswing
7. California’s Prop 187 sparks national immigration debate ?? 7. Arizona law sparks national immigration debate
8. Appropriations Chairman Bill Natcher dies, sparking special election that GOP unexpectedly wins ?? 8. Lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy dies, sparking special election that GOP unexpectedly wins
9. Clinton budget raises taxes ?? 9. Dems gonna let Bush tax cuts expire?
10. Joycelyn Elders ?? 10. Van Jones

I’ll offer up 10 dissimilarities between the two election cycles later this week. Got any similarities to add? Drop them in the comments.

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