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4th January
written by Sean Noble

There used to be a time that Republicans controlled Congress and there was real energy throughout the Conservative Movement.  It started on Election Day 1994 when Republicans captured majorities in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the swearing-in of the Revolutionary 104th Congress – the first Republican Majority in 40 years.  On that first day, Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House and Congress passed a massive overhaul of the House Rules which fundamentally changed some important aspects of the House.  Those reforms included term limits on the Speaker of the House, term limits for Committee Chairmen, abolishing proxy voting in Committee, requiring that any vote to increase taxes require a 3/5 majority, reducing the number of Committees and changing some of the names and reducing the number of Committee staff by 1/3 from the previous Congress.

Those were heady times for us that were there as a part of history.  That day began the 100-day sprint of voting on every one of the Contract with America bills, which, to their credit, Congress did.  Not all of them passed, of course.

I have fond memories of those exciting times – probably among the most exciting change that came to Washington since Reagan’s election to the White House in 1980.  I suppose Democrats are feeling the same now as they prepare for Obama’s inauguration.

The good ol’ days… When being a Republican actually meant we believed what we said and acted on it. We need to be more like Goldwater and Reagan and say what we mean, but more importantly, mean what we say.

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  1. M

    I can only help but wonder what Goldwater would say of his GOP today…

  2. 04/01/2009

    Just wait two years.

    In 1964, Johnson won 62-38, a margin 4 times as large as Obama’s. In 1966, after two years of his Great Society, the swing voters who decide national elections were so disgusted they handed the Republicans the largest congressional landslide in decades, which led to eight years of Republican presidents.

    Watergate got the Democrats back in the game in 1976, with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and a 140 seat margin in the House. After two years of Carter’s stumbling, the swing voters handed the Republicans an enormous landslide, bringing a 35 year old professor from a small town named Newt Gingrich to Congress. Twelve years of Republican presidents followed.

    After Greenspan cooled off the economy and Republican chances in 1992, the Democrats got back into the game. Hillarycare, a huge tax increase (Clinto campaigned on a $170B tax cut) and gays in the military followed. The swing voters handed the Republicans an epic landslide two years later and Clinton spent his presidency signing off on welfare reform, the Defense of Marriage Act and the repeal of Glass/Steagall.

    W’s Iraq fiasco and economic meltdown has handed the Whitehouse back to the Democrats. With the deficit approaching a trillion (thanks for nothing, W), President elect Obama makes an $850B federal spending package the centerpiece of his new presidency. The results of this fiscal insanity are predictable to anyone who lived through the seventies.

    Just wait two years and there will be a chance for real conservative reform once again.

  3. Andy

    I cannot believe it has been 14 years since the “tsunami,” as the press called the GOP sweep. Indeed, 1994 was my formal introduction to politics and policy, and although I am no longer a full time politico or staffer, those memories – and lessons learned – stay with me today. I am grateful that I worked for two of the true believers — Tom Coburn and John Shadegg — who are public servants, not politicans. Long live The Freshmen!

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