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June 11, 2004

Reagan Did Control Congress

Atrios objects that Tim Russert got it wrong when he said:

RUSSERT: One other political point: The Republicans achieved control of the United States Congress for the first time in 70 years, of both houses, under Ronald Reagan.
Technically, the GOP only controlled the Senate and the White House after the 1980 election, but de facto, they had an alliance with the Boll Weevil House Democrats, led by then-Democrat Phil Gramm, who rammed through tax and spending cuts in alliance with the GOP. Only with the 1982 election did real Democrats gain enough seats to regain operational control of the House. In response to that loss of control by the GOP-Boll Weevil alliance, Phil Gramm resigned from Congress in 1983 and became a Republican, running for Congress, then the Senate.

The reason this is important is that it highlights that Bush and the GOP are not at some high point of Republican strength today. All that has happened is that the old Boll Weevils are now properly labelled Republicans and regained the majority they gained and lost under Reagan.

So I think Russert is right on the reality of the situation-- the GOP controlled Congress and the White House under Reagan. Although he got it wrong that it was 70 years since the GOP had control of everything. In the 1952 election, the GOP won the White House and both houses of Congress as well-- a mere thirty years before Reagan.

Posted by Nathan at June 11, 2004 04:30 PM