Back in early 1996, when I was a reporter at Roll Call, I went to Chicago to cover the Democratic primary in Illinois' 5th Congressional District. The Democratic nomination was hotly contested; the seat was heavily Democratic, but had been snatched by a completely unknown Republican in 1994, due solely to the ethical woes of its previous incumbent. I spent an entire day driving around the North Side with the Democratic frontrunner, a young state representative with an over-the-top love of Elvis. As we careened from event to event, he would crank up the Elvis tunes on the stereo, and sing along -- loudly and badly -- as the staffer accompanying us rolled her eyes, probably fearing the impression Roll Call's story would make back in Washington. Also a bit bizarre were the trinkets the candidate passed out to supporters. Not the usual buttons or bumper stickers. Instead, sponges. The kind that come wafer-thin, but plump up to full size when wet ("Dip in water. See what happens.").
Note that there's nothing there about "cleaning up Washington" or "wiping out corruption." Telling.