(Not) Back to the Future


Historical comparisons are a silly parlor game for fools who are more comfortable with the certainty of the past than the future’s blank slate. Republicans may well win control of the House this fall, but it won’t be because this year is like 1994 … or 1952 or 1946.??

For illustration purposes, here’s a list of how 1993-94 is very different than 2009-2010. Coming up with similarities between the two cycles was more difficult for exactly the reason stated above: Today is not like yesterday, and tomorrow won’t be like today.

1993-1994 ?? 2009-2010
RNC Chairman Haley Barbour ?? RNC Chairman Michael Steele
White House Chief of Staff Mack McClarty ?? White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel
Speaker Tom Foley ?? Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Minority Whip Newt Gingrich ?? Minority Leader John Boehner
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell doesn’t run for reelection ?? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fights like hell for 5th term
House GOP special election sweeps ?? House Dems hold their own in specials
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s project: Reforming entire health care system ?? First Lady Michelle Obama’s project: Fighting childhood obesity
Health care train wreck ?? Health care victory for White House
Mario Cuomo’s last stand ?? Andrew Cuomo skates to victory
The return of Marion Barry ?? The demise of Adrian Fenty

A few more that came to mind: Whitewater then, Blagojevich now; Dems still held lots of offices in the South then, South is reliably GOP now; the economic stimulus bill failed then, but it passed this time around, etc.


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