You guys, OMG, anti-incumbent fever! Did you catch it? Do you need a Kleenex™?
So... yeah, a few elections yesterday. And everywhere around the web this morning I'm seeing articles (like this) that are basically talking about how, oh, these elections tell us what's going to happen later this year. But do they? Look, the two story lines we've been seeing are that 1. Democrats are in trouble and 2. incumbents are in trouble. But what do yesterday's races really tell us? First of all, there was one straightforward election, the Pennsylvania one, and the Democrat won! This tells us nothing about incumbents. Then we've got Specter losing, sure, but he's hardly typical, a party-switcher rejected for a real Democrat. Blanche Lincoln has to go to a runoff, but she isn't typical either.
And then there's Rand Paul, haw. OK, so he beat Grayson, who is supposed to represent "the establishment." But Paul is the son of a sitting Republican representative! And the Paul phenomenon is freakish, I'm sorry, so it's dumb to draw conclusions from this one.
Here's my favorite reaction, though, and this is where the puppy up top comes in: Michael Steele has issued a very hurty statement about how sad he is about the Pennsylvania election. So bitter:
“While we had hoped for a better result, Republican Tim Burns ran an excellent campaign in one of the bluest of congressional districts. Despite the fact that Pennsylvania’s 12th district has been a Democratic stronghold for more than thirty years and Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1, Republican Tim Burns pushed his Democratic opponent to the wire by campaigning against the liberal agenda of national Democrats. Democrat Mark Critz sought to distance himself from virtually every major issue on the Democrats’ unpopular legislative agenda. Now he’s headed to Washington, D.C., to join President Obama and Nancy Pelosi in passing more bailouts, more “stimulus” packages and more reckless government expansions – the very policies that prevent southwestern Pennsylvania from achieving the economic recovery they deserve. This race should serve notice to Democratic officeholders everywhere that no seat is safe and that voters will not accept business-as-usual.”
Tim Burns ran an excellent campaign? Evidence suggests otherwise.
So anyway, enjoy reading all day about what these over-hyped elections mean, even if they don't mean anything. Yay!
UPDATE - Here's a screenshot from the Washington Post:
So there you go: one incumbent losing = a fever.