Magazine article Insight on the News

Democratic Losses and American Gains

Magazine article Insight on the News

Democratic Losses and American Gains

Article excerpt

An unprecedented political eruption is about to occur. With several weeks remaining before voters go the polls, House Speaker Tom Foley most probably will be defeated in his bid for reelection. For the first time since 1860, a sitting speaker of the House would be tossed out by the voters.

Republicans have a better than even chance to regain control of the Senate and a real hope of controlling the House.

Only a year ago, predictions like this would have been been met with laughter. Today, as political news rolls in from around the country, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats despondent.

Though the Democrats and national media are panning the Contract with America unveiled this week by Republican members of the House of Representatives and GOP candidates, the document in fact shows that Republicans are united again. Newt Gingrich, lead drafter of the contract and the man who would be speaker in a Republican House, did the party and the country a service by focusing on issues.

Our cynical elites sometimes maintain that ideas don't matter in elections, only campaign technique and money. They are wrong. Ideas are important to the American people and especially to those who vote. Republican congressional candidates now go into electoral combat brandishing ideas such as term limits, a balancedbudget amendment, a line-item veto, an end to subsidies for illegitimacy, tax cuts, tort reform, a commitment to family values and restoration of our defenses and international credibility.

United behind their Contract with America, the Republican candidates have deprived naysaying opponents of their favorite enemy -- the "religious right." Now the critics must run against a set of ideas rather than a bogeyman. (Like all segments of the GOP, religious conservatives endorsed the contract.)

What will President Clinton and the Democrats do in the next 30 days to try and turn things around?

First, they will blame Republicans for killing health care reform. It's certainly true that Republicans oppose a government-run health care system. But most Republicans have long favored limited reforms of the health insurance market to prevent insurance companies from unfairly denying coverage because of a preexisting condition and to allow "portable" insurance, which people could keep when they changed jobs. …

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