Tuesday, November 07, 2006

1998, Part 2: Vote, but Expect the Worst

by Ken Houghton

In a previous post, I noted that the 1998 interregnum—the time after which the Republican dominance had been roundly thwarted as the people made clear that they neither supported impeachment nor the Republican policies of the Gingrich Constituency, but before the new Congress was sworn in—was highlighted by the lame-duck house voting for impeachment, against the express will of its constituents.

Let us look at just one example: the election of NJ-12 (which, I hasten to note, is not my district). The 12th was drawn to be a stridently Republican district, with a lot of "old money." Until 1998, it was represented by Michael Pappas. Pappas's opponent that year was former physics professor Rush Holt.

Very few gave Mr. Holt much of a chance: until Mr. Pappas sang the praises of Ken Starr on the floor of the House.

Shortly thereafter, the New York Times tried to portray Mr. Pappas as a moderate voice who might prevent the repudiation of the public's will.

You know the rest.

The lame-duck Republican congress—knowing the public didn't want it, knowing that they were doing it for no reason other than spite—pulled a final audacious act aimed straight at their base.

It was something that never would have happened if the new Congress had been seated, and it arguably set the stage for the past eight years (and beyond).

I don't know what this lame-duck Congress will pull, if the election goes the way 83% of you appear to believe it will, but history is not kind to the idea that they will not do the most insane thing they can.

Tom's certainly correct; that's not a reason to vote for them, and even less of one not to vote. But it's also a reason not to just celebrate tomorrow, but also plan for the Gathering Storm.
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