WASHINGTON — GOP national chairman Haley Barbour says 1994 is ''the best political environment for Republicans since I've been involved in politics.''
Democrats' failure to pass a health-care bill, the big Clinton tax increase, and a crime bill that Mr. Barbour charges was laden with $10 billion in ''pork'' have all set the stage for big Republican victories in the House and Senate this fall, the chairman says.
At a Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters, Barbour said that if the election were held today, Republicans would make ''very, very, very large gains'' because ''people are mad -- and I don't blame them.''
The chairman says that of six seats where Democratic senators are stepping down, the GOP has a shot at winning every one. Doing so would open the way for Republicans to draw even in the Senate, where Democrats now hold a 56-to-44 edge.
Barbour says Clinton policies are particularly unpopular in the Western states, where everything from timber harvesting on federal lands to grazing fees for cattlemen have become contentious issues.
''Clinton's policies are terrible for the West,'' Barbour says. ''They are literally waging war on the West.''
Turning to the administration's threats of a possible invasion of Haiti to oust that nation's military dictators, the chairman insists: ''There is no good public-policy reason to invade Haiti.''
Barbour says Americans do not want to see one American soldier's life lost to liberate Haiti because the situation there does not involve United States national security.
If the national interest were really at stake, President Clinton should have acted months ago, rather than delaying action all this time, Barbour says.
In 1994, Barbour predicts the GOP will draw a much larger share of the black vote than in 1992. He notes that Christine Todd Whitman, the new GOP governor of New Jersey, captured 25 percent of black votes.
Black voters share many of the same disappointments with Clinton policies as whites have, Barbour says.