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Rep.-Elect Melissa Bean In For Rough Ride?

By vouchey in News on Dec 16, 2004 3:52PM

melissa_bean_torso.jpgChicagoist reported on the Bean-Crane Eight Congressional District dust-up a couple of days ago. For some reason this weak story has managed to stay in the news cycle, and the various picayune details of a Congressional transition is getting a lot of ink. What gives?

A synopsis: Republican Phil Crane holds seat for 33 years, thinks he'll never lose. Political upstart and Democrat Melissa Bean beats Crane on her second try by a narrow 52-48%. A bitter Crane declines to make traditional concessionary phone call, refuses to return Bean's calls for help with transition. Then, Bean hires former staffer of somewhat-controvertial out-going Democratic Congressman, Republicans make a big stink, saying Bean is already engaging in partisan combat.

Chicagoist has seen this movie before, and it's a common Republican tactic. By launching political invective at a new Democratic officeholder from the very start, it becomes difficult for the press and the public to see any action by the officeholder as anything more than purely political. Attend a new post office opening? Just trying to get votes with pork. Vote for legislation cleaning up the water supply? Catering to the enviromental lobby. Vote against taxes? Purely a cynical ploy to move right in preparation for the next election. You can be sure that Melissa Bean will never have the opportunity to be a "good government" congresswoman who keeps her head down and helps out constituents.

Republicans are comparing her victory to Michael Flanigan's 1994 win over disgraced, once-powerful Rep. Dan Rostenkowski. A blip on the screen resulting from a frustrated electorate, they say. In Republican eyes, Bean must be kept from being seen as legitimate as long as possible, and then the electorate will elect their true choice in 2006 -- a Republican.

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