A quick glance back at the first post-election Notable Quotables newsletter in 1994 carries a pile of quotes that bear no resemblance to the new-day-dawning tone of 2006. There was a lot of bitterness, and some wistful looks forward:
"1994 Isn't Forever: Despite Sweeping Gains for Republicans, History Suggests the Power is Temporary" -- New York Times headline over story by Washington Bureau Chief R.W. Apple, November 10.
A classic liberal-media reaction came very late on Election Night as CNN's Mary Tillotson predicted that 1994's results could be seen as a dreadful disaster for the Republicans in 1996:
"It would strike some of us that the campaigns have all been so down and dirty and nasty and personal, there's no overarching mandate that the GOP can read into this...My memory after that '92 convention the Republicans held in Texas, is that a lot of people, even Republicans, said `Good Lord, what have we done?' Because the party seemed to have skewed so to the right. Well, the whole country gets to see that now. It's at least conceivable they set up their own defeat in '96, isn't it?"
-- CNN's Mary Tillotson, election night.
Over on NBC's Today, Bryant Gumbel wasn't offering the new majority flowers and candy:
"You're aligned to a party which owes many of its victories to the so-called religious right and other conservative extremists who are historically insensitive to minority concerns. That doesn't bother you?"
-- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel to black Republican U. S. Rep.-elect J.C. Watts, November 9.
"The so-called Christian Coalition, as you know, is claiming a great deal of credit for GOP victories across the board. Are you not at all concerned about where their brand of, some would say, extremism or intolerance, may yet try to take your party?"
-- Gumbel to Jack Kemp, November 10.
"You said the American people gave very clear orders. I read the transcript of your press conference yesterday and you talked at length of a Republican mandate. But in an off-year election where Republicans won the majority of only a 37 percent turnout, how broad a mandate can you rightfully claim?"
-- Gumbel to Senator Phil Gramm, November 10.
Read the whole thing. One last classic quote: Tom Brokaw ruing how an allegedly conservative, even anti-Clinton media bias had aided Newt Gingrich's ascent:
Tom Brokaw: "During the course of the last two years, they have passed the crime bill. They have made progress on the deficit. They have done things like the national volunteer service. Do you think the press has been too fascinated with other ancillary issues like the feud between the President and some more conservative members of Congress, like Whitewater and Paula Jones?"
NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert: "Yes I do."
-- Exchange after Bill Clinton's news conference, November 9. (The day after the election.)