This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," May 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," incumbents beware. A pair of high-profile primary losses has Washington insiders on edge. Can Senators Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln survive the wave come Tuesday?
And the nomination of Elena Kagan, what it means for the Supreme Court and what it says about the Obama agenda.
Plus, Fannie and Freddie have already cost you $145 billion. And the end is nowhere is site, as Democrats vote to keep the bailouts coming.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Anyone who needed proof that 2010 would be a tough year for incumbents sure got it this week when veteran West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan lost his bid for a 15th term in a primary defeat on Tuesday. His loss came just days after Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah was knocked off the November ballot in the convention process.
Just how toxic the environment is for incumbents will be really tested this Tuesday, when Democratic Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas attempt to fend off strong primary challenges of their own?
Joining the panel, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; editorial board member, Jason Riley; and opinionjournal.com editor, James Taranto.
Dan, we've got an incumbent thrown out, a Democratic incumbent thrown out. Is there a common theme underlying these ousters?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yes, Paul. I think there's a big common theme and I would sum it up in one word: reform. I don't mean reform in the normal sense of the word, where you say we want to change something. I think the American political system is entering a formal era of reform, similar to the progressive movement. I think the American people have decided that the aggregation of government over a long period —
GIGOT: OK, I'll take your point. But isn't that what Obama promised, reform in Washington?
GIGOT: I thought we were in that era, the new progressive era.
HENNINGER: Oh, he was the beginning of it. I completely agree. Barack Obama overthrew the Democratic establishment. He didn't deliver on what people thought they were getting. I think that's a symptom of what was to about come and they're throwing long-serving congressmen off the train left and right. And I think it's going to continue until the American people get what they want.
JASON RILEY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Sure. But I think it's more than just an anti-incumbent fever. I think it's really an anti-Obama fever here. Mollohan, for example, is not only a 14-term congressman. He lost by 12 points to a guy who attacked him mostly on the health care vote. Again, Bennett, out in Utah attacked for TARP. These are — these are — I think —
GIGOT: Financial —
RILEY: — people responding to the Obama agenda, the piling up of debt, the uncontrolled spending. I think that's what is animating them.
JAMES TARANTO, EDITOR, OPINIONJOURNAL.COM: Here's an interesting thing. What do Alan Mollohan and Bob Bennett and Arlen Specter have in common? They're all on the Appropriations Committee. These are the committees that decide how spend — spend our money.