The Incumbent Purge Continues?

by David Weigel

This is already shaping up to be the worst year for incumbents since 1994, as Joe Lieberman*, Cynthia McKinney, Frank Murkowski, and Joe Schwarz have all been ousted by angry voters. Is Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD) going to be the next to fall? The congessman who represents the black suburbs of DC has lost the Washington Post's endorsement to challenger Donna Edwards.

As we've noted in the past, Mr. Wynn has often seemed more involved in playing the role of a kingmaker in Prince George's than in his duties in Congress. On key federal issues, he has cast himself as the most bipartisan member of Maryland's congressional delegation. That's great in theory, but too often his votes have been at odds with good government and the interests of his constituents. He has backed the estate tax repeal, a measure that benefits the richest Americans at the expense of the poor and middle class. He supported the Bush administration's energy bill in 2003, offering subsidies to oil and gas companies even as they were headed toward record profits. He has flip-flopped on fuel efficiency standards and opposed campaign finance reform. And he has tried to clear the way for casino gambling in Prince George's. All in all, it is a lackluster record.
Mr. Wynn insists he has been a successful pork-barrel politician; we suspect Ms. Edwards, razor-sharp and relentless, would be at least as effective. We disagree with her on some important issues, but we are convinced she would be the more forceful, principled and effective representative.

This is an unsophisticated political wish, I realize, and I'm not on board with all of the WaPo's justifcations, but I can think of no finer outcome to the midterms than the ousting of 50 percent or so of the current Congress. From both parties.

*I need to explain what the asterisk is for?