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Sort of.  I used to be a picayune contributer to a nothern Virginia newspaper in the '90s on its opinion pages.  The editor called them "guest columns" and dubbed me either an occasional contributor, a regular contributor, or a frequent contributor, depending on what he felt like that day.  I enjoyed doing it because I was such a know-it-all then.  Not like now, when I don't know up from down. But, at least, I know right from left.  I didn't like the Republicans then and I like them less even now.  And, yes, I saved most of my columns, probably numbering around 60 or so, maybe more, maybe less...and they are not on-line and I have no link to them.

They are saved in a neat little binder with some kind of cellophane protectant; I don't know what it is.  But they haven't turned yellow yet.  More than a few discuss issues current today -- entitlement reform, the rethug takeover of the House in 1994 that some here tried to compare to the rethug takeover of the House in 2010.

There are comparisons between the two eras.  Except in 1994, some Dems were just plain corrupt, and that didn't sit well with the electorate, or at least the 2% of the ballot casters (angry white males) who put down their beers and hunting rifles long enough to stumble into the ballot box and put frickin' Gingrich in power.  But I'm not here to rehash the 1994 election.  I like to look forward, so what's Gingrich still hanging around for, the ass hole?

But similarities between two epochs in time are occuring, and I documented this in a column I wrote on May 11, 1994, (sandwiched between my prior column of Apr. 24 about my family's small town newspaper of long ago and a letter to the editor in the Moony Times on May 13 that set the record straight about the Anita Hill issue for all the wing-nuts that read the Washington Times)...1994 column that discussed the weak field the Republicans were testing out for a run against Clinton in 1996.  I don't remember why the Republicans were starting their presidential run so early, except that, at the time, Bill Clinton was vulnerable and about ready to lose the U.S. House.  At the risk of committing a bunch of fair use on myself, I began:

I can't keep up with all the Republicans getting ready to face down Bill Clinton in 1996.  Just the other week, five of them went to Atlanta to criticize the president and to posture against one another for the GOP nomination in 1996.

It's too early to announce for president, so none of them did.  But to show you how dumb the Republicans have gotten, all you have to do is imagine what their slogan "Clinton and Gore Out in Four" will sound like in 1996.  I wouldn't be suprised to see the Democrats expropriate this bumper sticker for their reelectioin slogan in 1996, like they stole the crime issue in 1994.

What I pretty much lilked about my editor was that he didn't mind printing my opinion that the Republicans were dumb.  And that's tongue and cheek about how Clinton stole the crime issue. As you'll recall, Clinton was a triangulator and he took up several formerly Republican-only issues that pissed them off to no end.  Even so, I further enunciate:

"Stole" is probably not the right word.  Some conservative columnists I've read are blasting the Republicans because they've been yielding ground to the Democrats on some traditionally safe issues like crime.

Richard Nixon, that re-tooled Republican icon, was elected on the crime problem in 1968.  He called it the law-and-order issue then, and it had particular resonance after Mayor Richard J. Daley's police force beat the press and maced the nation at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  Because of Daley, Hubert Humphrey limped to his acceptance speech with the slogan "Dump the Hump" echoing in his ears and through the bully streets of Chicago.

And you think the fights among members of this site are brutal?  I can't say for sure whether "Dump the Hump" echoed in Humphrey's ears or not.  This was not a first hand experience of mine, but more akin to "literary license."  While Humphrey left the scene a long time ago, some right-wingers are still around, if not from that time, then from the '90s, such as Rush Limbaugh:

One of the problems the current crop of Republicans has is that their supporters in the media, like Rush Limbaugh, continue to try and paint Clinton as a liberal.  During the 1980s, Clinton moved Democrats to the center and has not strayed ideologically since then.  His stand on crime is consistent with previous positions.

This centrist Democrat stuff does not go down too well here and I'm not only reminded of Clinton, but of how Obama is positioning himself for the 2012 run.  My next graph is back on Nixon where I pointed out that he wasn't much of a conservative either.  But on to Limbaugh:

Radio broadcasters are phonies, which perhaps entices them to feel qualified for politics.  They change their names as often as they change cities. Limbaugh used to be known as "Jeff Christie" at WIXZ in Pittsburgh.  Maybe Howard Stern has always been known as Howard Stern, but he's never been known as a Liberatarian, until that party gave him the nomination for governor of New York in a fit of fringe apoplexy.

Does anyone remember that Howard Stern was the Libertarian candidate for governor of New York?  I don't.  As for that group of five in Atlanta:

Even the Republicans are trying to reinvent themselves around the edges. There were five Republican hopefuls congregating in Atlanta under the tenuous auspices of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.  Has anyone ever heard of this group?

Hell, I was even asking questions then.  I still don't know who they were.  Jack Kemp was there, along with four others:  (If you'll recall, Kemp ended up being Dole's running mate in 1996.)

Jack Kemp believes the party should open up and try new things, like bringing in minorities.  Lamar Alexander has started a natioanl network of Republicans to define issues, but also to make his name known.  Carroll Campbell, the governor of South Carolina, is just a regional figure so far, and looks like someone with too much ambition.  Bob Dole and Phil Gramm are too afraid of Whitewater hearings and of Bill Clinton to please any of the go-for-the-jugular Republicans whose support is needed in the primaries.

Turns out, Bob Dole got the nomination because it was "his turn" but he was not an effective candidate against Clinton.  We haven't had a Democratic incumbent president since that time. I'm wondering if the weak field in 2012, so far, will be a repeat of 1996.  As I stated then:
I ask, what is being implied here about a party with umpteen hopefuls jockeying for president and no star to ride the thoroughbred?  Kemp, Dole, Campbell, Gramm, Alexander, Quayle, Cheney, Bennett, Baker, Weld, Hutchinson, Wilson, Buchanan -- whew!  Sounds like the guest list at Ed Rollins's coming-out party.

It's not time to get too cocky.  But I think Barack Obama faces a similar field.  If they nominate a Dole type guy or Fred Thompson or, who's that fellow from Arizona that gave us Sarah Palin?

No one on the rethug side has really been a stand out.  I'm not sure there is anyone who might believe, as Dole did, that it's "their turn."  The most recent hopeful is Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.  He's an idiot.  Andy Ostroy wrote about Santorum in the fight over the filibuster rule in 2005:

Let's all remember that Santorum is best known for equating sexuality between consenting gay adults with bestiality between humans and dogs. When you view comments such as this one, and also that of freshman Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, who believes doctors who perform abortions should be executed, it's pretty easy to see why, with the Republican leadership we currently have, we're defending the filibuster so passionately.

I don't think Rick Santorum is part of that "whole new cast" of Republicans Jim DeMint predicted might emerge a few weeks ago.  Chris Christie is one who many in the Repblican Party are pining for.  He's another idiot, but not as dumb as Santorum.  Christie's not running, though.

When the Republicans get around to nominating someone, they'll still have to face voters in swing states, such as Ohio and Wisconsin, who are increasingly turned off by their overreaching governors.  This has been aptly pointed out by front-pagers and other diarists.  Certainly, parts of the West are fair territory for Obama.

The President and his folks are looking at the 2012 campaign.  That doesn't mean he's going to give up governing.  As shown in this diary up on the Rec list now, he seems to have some good fight in him.  Obama will face the rethugs down, made all the easier because they're beginning to show their true colors (zero out Planned Parenthood and PBS, etc.).  They are beginning, once again, to return to the party of suspicion - and it's the American people who are casting a suspicious eye at these morons.  The Republican Party.  They can't help themselves.

In closing, and to reinforce what I believe is an inherently fatal flaw in the Republican philosophy, revisit with me one more incident down the Richard Nixon memory lane:

But the law-and-order issue was about as phony as Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam War that year [i.e., 1968].  Ironically, Nixon's gravestone is inscribed, "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker." Nixon and Henry Kissinger manipulated the peace process for four years to coincide their "peace is at hand" pronouncements with Election day 1972. That wasn't criminal in 1972 because, as we all know, Nixon was not a crook.

What an ass hole.

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