Ramesh Ponnuru compares the state of the Republican Party in 1994 with that of today. He argues that the similarities so often drawn between the two periods are superficial. Ponnuru explains why that is a good thing. It's a very smart analysis, from National Review Online:
Republicans don’t want what happened after the last Republican takeover to recur. During the winter of 1995–96, the new Republican Congress battled with Clinton over the budget — a battle that reached its climax in partial shutdowns of the government. The public sided with Clinton. His approval ratings rose while Gingrich’s plummeted.
The conservative campaign to limit the size and scope of the federal government never really recovered from this defeat. Within a few years congressional Republicans were beginning to run for reelection on pork and incumbency rather than reform, and George W. Bush was advancing a “compassionate conservatism” as a way of distinguishing himself from the Gingrichites.
But there are several differences between 2011 and 1995 that should work in favor of Republicans.