It’s 1994, the second year of Bill Clinton’s presidency. The Republicans get all populist and come out with the Republican Revolution and the Contract With America. In the midterm elections, the Republicans take control of Congress (both houses, not just the House, like this year) for the first time since 1953. It’s seen as a decisive win for conservative populism, and touted as a repudiation of the liberal policies of a previously popular president (and his unpopular wife, who had just failed to pass health care reform).
In 1995, conflict between the White House and Congress over the budget led to a Federal government shutdown. People were PISSED. Republicans got major bad press.
In 1996, the GOP ran a candidate and a campaign widely seen as mean-spirited, negative, and in thrall to religious fundamentalists. Bill Clinton is reelected by a wide margin.
Now it’s 2010. American voters are pissed. They’ve attacked the incumbent party for three elections in a row now. The pendulum swings, folks, But the GOP’s victory in the midterms will make it swing the other way in 2012, exactly the way it did in the 90s. Just watch.