This week's (defeat/victory) of ____ in the state of ______ is evidence of a national trend toward _________ that may signal a __________ in the November general election. Here in Florida, that may be (good/bad) news for ______.
For "defeat," we can use Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, and for "victory," Rand Paul, the tea-flavored son of Ron Paul in Kentucky. We can therefore declare the national trend to be "anti-establishment."
Everybody says so.
It could not have been a factor that the tired, 80-year-old, party-switching Specter finally wore out his welcome in both parties, or that the brand-name Paul had any other kind of upper hand against a blah opponent.
Neither do any local quirks about Pennsylvania or Kentucky matter — no, all modern politics are (is?) national.
Here in Florida, therefore, this clearly demonstrated trend is bad news for …
Charlie Crist, obviously — at least, according to the campaign of Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, which immediately compared Specter to Crist for leaving the Republican Party to run for the Senate as an independent.
"Tonight voters in Pennsylvania made an unequivocal statement that the American people are tired of the crass political opportunism that puts saying and doing anything to win an election above all else," the Rubio campaign declared.
Meanwhile, a new anti-Crist group called the "Victory Trust" confidently predicts a revolution in November that the "legacy media" (I think that means newspapers and such) are too dumb to see.
So maybe all this is true. One difference between Crist and Specter, though, is that Crist is not a stationary duck on the pond — he is even trying to claim that he is the outsider, a critic of "politics as usual," with the Legislature as his foil.
Still, if you are determined to pursue the anti-establishment theory, you also should cite the arrival in Florida politics of two nouveaux bazillionaires, Jeff Greene in the Democratic U.S. Senate race, and Rick Scott in the Republican governor's race. Each has bought instant presence by pouring his own money into television.
Scott, whose previous occupation was leading a company that ripped off the taxpayers, is within a stone's throw of the conventional Republican front-runner, Bill McCollum, and in one poll actually tied with the Democrat Alex Sink. No wonder both McCollum and Sink took notice of Scott this week and started calling him names — the McCollum campaign even favorably quoted Sink's attack on Scott.
How much of this is proof of national fed-up-ed-ness, and how much of it is a function of a weak and uninspiring field in the persons of Sink and McCollum? If our former two-term governor and all-time Republican superstar Jeb Bush were running to get his old job back, would a few television commercials from Rick Scott be buying competition so easily?
Everybody's mad about something. One bunch wants to Take Our Country Back from the bunch that just Took Our Country Back the last time. The Democrats will probably lose seats in November. Rubio has an excellent chance of being our next U.S. senator. The question is how much of this is revolution, and how much is the midterm wash-and-rinse cycle.