Hotline researchers are already on the case, but we can't find evidence of any primary night (in a non-redistricting year) producing three incumbent losses. And these losses were across the ideological and geographic spectrum. Each one individually can be explained away (moderate Joe Schwarz only won his first race because the conservative vote was split, not so this year; Cynthia McKinney is, well, Cynthia McKinney; and Joe Lieberman found himself on the wrong end of a divisive issue in the wrong year).The whole piece is solid, and as always, full of interesting tidbits. (Did you know that Alan Keyes' head is made entirely of soft cheese? That's one of the many facts not related in his column.)
And yet, they all lost to candidates promising to do the same thing: change Washington. Change the spending habits, or change the foreign policy, or simply change personal behavior.
But the larger point is there. For all the concerned warnings from the true and sincere friends of the Democratic Party -- you know, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Sean "Sucks Ass" Hannity -- the lesson of the Lieberman loss isn't that the Democrats are going over the edge. Instead, the message is that Bush has already run off the cliff, and is now hovering mid-air, like Wile E. Coyote with a handheld sign that reads "Yikes!" Anyone who's been clutching themselves close to Bush is right there with him, and they're all about to fall to the canyon's floor below. Unless there's an Acme-brand trampoline down there, of course.
We're seeing two overlapping, but not identical movements out there -- an anti-incumbency mood in the general electorate, and an anti-Bush drive in the Democratic ranks. Together, they spell bad news for the Bush enablers. Incumbent Republicans are running scared, not just from Bush's Corleone Kiss of Death but from any connection to the Republican Party at all. Man oh man, is that a bad sign for the GOP.
Public approval of Congress is at abysmal levels? (How low? They get to look up to see where the president's approval rating sits in the soaring mid-30s. At least Cheney's several floors below them.) More ominously, polling data on individual members of Congress shows the highest levels of dissatisfaction since 1994.
Anyone remember what happened in the congressional elections that year?