Two Memes Enter, One Meme Leaves

| Wed Aug. 25, 2010 1:18 AM EDT

Summing up Tuesday's election results, Newsweek's Andrew Romano says that the anti-Washington press meme is about to change:

On Tuesday, voters in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Florida weighed in on a variety of marquee primary races--and in every case, they preferred (or were seeming at press time to prefer) the incumbent, establishment, and/or Washingtonian candidate to his or her insurgent foe.

....It's no secret that the press tends to shoehorn even the most multifaceted news event into a simple narrative. Expect that process to continue on Wednesday; both Politico and Agence France Presse have already published stories trumpeting the death of the anti-Washington meme. Unfortunately, the whole exercise is just as futile when incumbents are winning as when they were losing; politics just isn't that tidy. Case in point: even as the anti-establishment eulogies were hitting the wires, the Associated Press was reporting that health-care multimillionaire Rick Scott had defeated Washington-backed Bill McCollum in Florida’s Republican gubernatorial primary and Christian youth camp director James Lankford had upset former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, a Club for Growth favorite, in the runoff for Oklahoma’s open 5th District House seat.

Well, look. Isn't there someone who's enough of a political junkie to give us the straight dope on this? How many incumbents have lost this year compared to 2006? Or 2002? Can't we put a number to this? If the number is a lot higher than the average midterm election, then the anti-Washington meme deserves to live. Otherwise it deserves to die. Which is it? Who's ready to tot up the results from the past few elections and tell us?

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