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What was the message of Tuesday’s elections? Clearly the base voters of both parties are unhappy and looking for change. Incumbents are at risk. Politics as usual is unappealing.

Conservatives in both parties are spinning this as a protest vote about deficits and spending. But voters are angry not because of abstract deficits. They are angry because the record deficits come as Wall Street was bailed out and jobs are still scarce. Independent voters rail about spending, but their anger is less about size of government than about competence and corruption, a government suborned by special interests that doesn’t work for them.

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