It doesn't get more outside the Beltway than Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson.
"I'd never been to Washington D.C.... until this election. I've gone three times just to familiarize myself and meet with some groups. But that's it," Johnson said.
A millionaire businessman running in his first election, Johnson is favored to take down three-term Democrat Russ Feingold. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released this week shows Johnson with an eight point lead.
Everyone in this cycle wants to portray himself as the outsider, the lone wolf, the guy everyone in Washington hates so much, he'll need a personal bodyguard. Longtime politicians struggle hardest to establish their outsider bona fides. "This is not about civility or go along to get along," said Indiana Republican Senate candidate Dan Coats, whose civility got him elected to the Senate once before. "We don't go there and sing 'Kumbaya' across the aisle." Michael Bennet, the former Denver schools superintendent who's now a politician in Washington, denounced "politicians in Washington."
Feingold, who recently bragged in an ad about what a social outcast he is, declared himself the "No. 1 enemy of Washington lobbyists" at Monday's debate. His opponent, Johnson, did him one better: He's such an outsider that he would defer to President Obama on policy in Afghanistan. "I haven't seen the intelligence reports," said Johnson. " I want to give him the benefit of the doubt." You don't get further outside than that.
George Soros, the canniest of speculators in the world of finance and normally an energetic supporter of Democrats, says he's taking a pass on this year's midterm elections.
"I'm getting out of the way of an avalanche," Soros said.
History may be on his side. Consider the October 1994 Roper Center analysis of that year's midterm elections: "The American electorate has become increasingly angry, unanchored and self-absorbed. Thousands of in-depth interviews revealed a public intensely frustrated with the current political system.
"Widespread political discontent has been accompanied by a new emphasis on what might be called 'outsiderism,' a belief that new leaders are better than old ones and that experience in politics is more of a vice than a virtue."
If that doesn't reflect the state of play Soros and everyone else are now hearing from the pollsters and analysts, I don't know what does.