Fareed Zakaria reminds Americans that this newest re-taking of the House is the third "Republican revolution", behind the Reagan revolution and Newt Gingrich's Contract
On For America. Neither era of Republican control worked out well for the vast majority of Americans. Will the American people give the GOP another chance if they screw this one up?
I know that there are many who agree with Susie Madrak that this is an opportunity to show once and for all that Republican policies simply do not work. Unfortunately, as much as I like and respect Susie's attitude, I just can't be that sanguine. One would hope that people could have been sentient enough to realize that it was the Republican policies writ large with majorities in both the House and the Senate as well as control of the White House that put us in the dire straits we're in and that the trickle-down effect of Reaganomics really never did trickle down to not vote in this third Republican revolution. But unfortunately, overestimating the American people's ability to think critically and sanely seems to be a Democratic curse.
And worse, there is little chance that the majority of Americans will have this pointed out to them via our traditional media. Sure, you and I see it and we seek out media that provide facts and context, but the vast majority of people in this country do not.
That's why it's so refreshing to have a cable news commentator say what needs to be said: The Republican Party have shown time and time again they cannot govern the country well.
Transcripts below the fold.
The people have spoken, or at least 42 percent of registered voters have spoken, which is 90 million of America's 300 million people, and the verdict is clear. The Republicans have come to power. But whether they will be able to stay in power will surely depend on whether they're able to fulfill their central campaign promise, which is to cut down big government.
I'm going to lead - leave aside the question of whether cutting government and government spending is the right thing for the economy now. We actually have a great debate on that very topic coming up. But I'm simply holding the Republican Party to its pledge.
The reason I think this will be tough for them to stay politically popular, if they renege on this pledge, is because we've been here before. You see, this is actually the third Republican revolution.
The first was Ronald Reagan's when he came into office in 1980 and promised to cut taxes and cut spending. He did the first bit, enacting a massive reduction in taxes and closed hundreds of loopholes. It was a landmark piece of legislation.
The problem is he never got around to the second part. The result by 1985 was that the federal deficit as a percent of GDP had doubled. It only went down slightly after that because Reagan agreed to several tax increases. But his budget director, David Stockman, argued that the Reagan revolution failed because Congressional Republicans refused to cut spending.
The second revolution was Newt Gingrich's. That was more successful, and Gingrich deserves some credit. Much of the credit, however, must go to the man who was president during those years, Bill Clinton. Clinton's years in office saw the lowest average deficits in decades ending up with a massive surplus, and that is because he both raised taxes and cut spending.
Next up, the Bush years, with Republicans controlling all levers of government after 2002, an ideal time to fulfill the Republican promise, to close the deficit, right? Wrong. It turned out to be the most reckless expansion of government spending in two generations. The two percent budget surplus he inherited from Clinton turned into a two percent deficit. Why? Tax cuts, prescription drugs, and two wars, all unpaid for. The debt exploded.
So, this time, if the Republicans look at the deficit and promise to close it, but then cut taxes and continue to expand spending, the public surely, at some point, will say, fool me three times, shame on me.