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What Lessons Have Republicans Learned From The Last Shutdown?

One thing I expect out of the Republican House is a government shutdown. The House leadership, which remembers 1995, may not want another shutdown. But the only alternative to shutting down the government is to immediately compromise with the Obama administration, and pass a series of policies Republicans consider unacceptable (if not tyrannical.)

What about the lessons of Newt Gingrich? That's not how Republicans remember the episode. Politico has a story headlined, "Freshmen Vow Not To Repeat 1994." Does that mean they don't want to go too far, demand too much and provoke a backlash? No, it means don't cheat on your wife or start getting earmarks:

The last big class of GOP outsiders intent on setting off a stink bomb in the clubby capital city is now remembered more as a ripped-from-the-headlines compilation of Republicans laid low.

There are Mark Souder, Mark Sanford and John Ensign, all adulterers of recent vintage. But what’s remarkable is how many other, less notorious, members of the Class of ’94 also carried on affairs or were caught in sex scandals.

Then there was Bob Ney, the Ohioan who  served 17 months in federal prison on corruption-related charges stemming from the Jack Abramoff scandal.

And this is to say nothing of the other Republican Revolutionaries who ran against business as usual and went native when they saw the easiest way to reelection was to crack the Appropriations piggy bank. Take former Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth, for example, whose fondness for earmarks caught up with him in his Senate primary this year against John McCain, during which he was tailed by a heckler in a pig costume.

Interviews with more than a dozen Republican freshmen reveal a group determined to serve as delegates for the discontent that powered their elections but also to avoid the pitfalls of their predecessors.

Many said that the difference between this moment and 1994 is that the country’s fiscal problems are more urgent now and that voters would therefore be more apt to turn them out with haste if they didn’t enact change.

In other words, aside from keeping their pants zipped up, the primary failure of the last GOP takeover was failing to move fast enough.