Fred Heineman’s death takes us back to the Republican tidal year of 1994, when a titanic health-care battle led to a Democratic debacle so huge Heineman temporarily unseated David Price.
The big difference this year: Obama succeeded where the Clintons failed.
It takes three ingredients to make an electoral revolution: (1) One side is energized (2) the middle is outraged and (3) the other side is demoralized.
All three elements came together in 1994.
Democrats were so demoralized – and stayed home so much – that Heineman won even though he got fewer votes than Price got in 1992.
But, thanks to Obama’s health-care victory, Democrats who were demoralized a week ago are energized today.
Republicans, of course, are still energized – maybe even more so.
And the middle? We’ll see. Obama’s political challenge now is to sell them on reform.