Was the election of 1995 a victory for the Republicans or the Democrats? Two different answers to this question were given at a Club luncheon last week.
Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour called it "a very good year... especially when compared to the Democrats." His Democratic counterpart, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) said it was " a good day for Democrats.... The Gingrich revolution has certainly been stalled, if not derailed."
Barbour said the lesson of the election for Republicans was that, "where the election was fought on the issues, we won.... Expect Republicans to run on the issues: smaller government, lower taxes, less spending, fewer regulations, genuine welfare reform, tough criminal justice reforms and so on."
Dodd said he did not expect President Clinton to be challenged in the primaries next year, adding that the state of the economy would help Clinton tremendously in the campaign. Dodd said that election results and polls show that most voters agree with Democratic efforts to "protect Medicare, education and the environment."
Barbour, however, rejected the idea that the GOP should slow down its conservative legislative agenda. "The greater risk for Republicans," he said, "is turning back."
National Press Club Record, Volume XLV, No. 42. November 16, 1995.