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It was November, 1995.  A year earlier, the Republicans had taken over both houses of Congress, and their firebrand conservative leader, Newt Gingrich, had become House Speaker.  Conventional wisdom said that this victory was a wholesale public embrace of Gingrich-style conservatism, and a repudiation of liberalism.  President Bill Clinton was doomed to be a one-term president and a footnote to history like his predecessors that had been defeated for re-election, such as Millard Filmore or Chester Arthur.  

Another leader of the right-wing charge was Virginia Governor George Allen, who had been in its vanguard, winning his office a year before Gingrich won his.  Allen had been victorious in  solidly-GOP Virginia with support from that state’s strong Christian right, and had sustained that support by emphasizing such inherently Christian causes as abolishing parole and forcing welfare recipients to reveal the fathers of their children.  The state party he led was flush with these successes, and with the money and enthusiasm that would fuel more successes.  The state assembly, which had been controlled by Democrats for most of the past century, was one of the few restraints on Allen’s power, but surely the 1995 midterm elections would change that, and the Dems would be swept out of power on the conservative wave.  

A funny thing happened on the way to Allen’s coronation, however: the Democrats won the midterm election, and even gained seats.

How did it happen?  (More details after the fold.)

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To this day, bloggers on web sites like Daily Kos argue that Bill Clinton was in no way a progressive president, and that his victories were reactive (such as stopping the worst budget cuts of the Gingrich Congress) and never proactive. In particular, Clinton is disparaged by comparisons with Howard Dean, who is said to have a sterling liberal record. This article is intended to refute these arguments; I firmly believe that Clinton, while far from perfect, did more for progressivism than most politicians of our time, including Dean.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 06:20 PM PDT

The NRA is right.

by lungfish

This will be cross-posted on my blog, wantsomewood.blogspot.com.

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Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 04:18 PM PDT

Could Independents Be.... WRONG?

by lungfish

(Cross-posted on my blog, wantsomewood.blogspot.com)

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(Will cross-post this on Wantsomewood.blogspot.com)

Like everyone else, I expect the 2010 election to be a lackluster one for Democrats; I have little doubt that Democrats will lose seats in the House and Senate.  This is not unusual; the party holding the White House has lost seats in nearly every election since the Roosevelt era.  That said, I disagree with the many media pundits and predictors who have decided seven months before Election Day that the year will be ruinous for Democrats, and that Republicans will win back Congress.  Given not only polls, but also simple facts on the ground like money and demographics, it is unlikely that the Republicans will win control of even one house of Congress, and two will be nearly impossible.

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I already cross-posted this on my blog, http://wantsomewood.blogspot.com  

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This will be cross-posted on my blog, http://wantsomewood.blogspot.com

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Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:00 PM PDT

Another Argument for Gun Control

by lungfish

This story appeared in the Post over a year ago, but I still thought it was worth highlighting, for the reasons I explain below.  This is a reprint from my blog, wantsomewood.blogspot.com.  

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The email address is letters@washpost.com.  My letter appears below; feel free to restate it in your own words.  Of course, there's an outrage like this just about every day in the Post, but this one seems particularly egregious.  

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One of the first things that I wanted to find out from the election results was the amount of success John McCain had convincing working-class white people to vote against Obama. While McCain obviously didn’t do well enough at this to win the two states it was supposed to win for him (Ohio and Pennsylvania), it’s clear that he had limited success. The four rural, traditionally Democratic counties in southwestern Pennsylvania that voted for John Kerry in 2004 were all carried by McCain, albeit narrowly. At the same time, a number of counties in southeastern Ohio flipped from Democratic to Republican, and all the southwestern Virginia counties that Democrats normally win were won by McCain, although the results in some of them were quite close.

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Sat Dec 20, 2008 at 08:42 AM PST

A Pro-Gun-Control Election

by lungfish

There are a lot of things to celebrate about the 2008 election, and one of them is that it was a resounding victory for gun control.  This is counterintuitive because the news media (including, unfortunately, too many liberal bloggers) have convinced many Democrats that gun control is in some way a "losing" issue, and that the Democratic party has to abandon it entirely in order to win significant victories outside of large metropolitan areas.  The 2008 election should put the lie to that notion once and for all, for the following reasons (continued below the fold):

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Thu May 15, 2008 at 02:04 PM PDT

Bill Clinton Won Fair and Square

by lungfish

The idea that Bill Clinton didn’t really win the presidency in 1992, or would not have won if third party candidate Ross Perot wasn’t in the race, is a long-standing right-wing talking point.  Incredibly, I have recently seen liberals making the same argument, apparently so full of anti-Hillary Clinton zeal that they are ready to denigrate any success in any way attributable to either of the Clintons.  In any case, it’s an idea badly in need of refuting.  

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