Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Congresswoman and the Curmudgeon

Instead of staying at home watching another episode of ABC's "Wife Swap," a brilliant show whose tapes should be walked over the Museum of Television and Radio immediately after each airing, the Curmudgeon went out to meet Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D-IL, 8th) at a small dinner gathering in Chicago. Loyal readers, and you three know who you are Mom, Dad and Cranky's Wife, will recall the few brushes with greatness, here, here and here I have had recently. Last night was another brush. Although at this point it could be argued that it was Rep. Bean who had a brush with greatness.

I arrived early to the storefront restaurant and Rep. Bean walked in with me. She had driven herself, was without any handlers or staff or U.S. House of Representatives plates on her minivan. How refreshing. While we waited for others to arrive I had a chance to talk with her. She could not have been any nicer. She was friendly, articulate and sincere. All the things the Curmudgeon is not. Quite a contrast.

The room soon was teeming with lawyers, traders, business owners, a candidate for Congress, a candidate for State Treasurer, a political consultant-type, one guy who looked exactly like Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf (I'm not kidding) and one interior designer who just can't wait to help design my new kitchen for free. At least that's what I remember. Everyone seemed to have a good time talking about politics and politicians. Bean unseated Rep. Phil Crane from the eighth district in Illinois in 2004 and Republicans have targeted her for defeat in 2006. In fact, they targeted her even before she was sworn in. Bean's voting record has made some Democrats unhappy but what the Democrats need is more moderate and centrist members like her if they want to win elections nationwide and take back the House, Senate and White House. Besides, the most important vote she makes is for leadership positions and I'd rather have her vote than a Republican vote for Dennis Hastert as Speaker of the House (a.k.a. Mouthpiece of the White House) and Tom Delay as Majority Leader (a.k.a. Leader of Major Corruption).

There's nothing so satisfying as free food and the chance to ask a Member of Congress "Who is the worst Senator or Representative you know personally or professionally in Washington?" As is the case, many of the people you would think are nice are not and many you would think are not, actually are. In any event, Rep. Bean spent a long time talking to everyone about anything on their minds. She was the first to arrive and last to leave. She came early and stayed late. Her time is valuable not only because of her responsiblities to her job but also to her family yet she stayed and talked and answered any question put to her. She even stood on the cold windy sidewalk next to her car continuing the lengthy chat with the Curmudgeon that began nearly 4 hours earlier. Can't think of another elected official who would have been so generous with their time. She's someone who deserves broad support for re-election.

So who will be the next lucky Senator, Representative, Cabinet member or dare I say President whose presence will be graced by the Curmudgeon? You'll have to check back here daily to find out.


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Well if you're looking for a brush with greatness, the president due to win in 2034 needs his diapers changed.

2:39 PM  
Blogger phinky said...

Wouldn't that be 2036?

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm assuming there was free beer there as well?

9:35 AM  
Blogger ukpolitico said...

I love the american version of wife swap, we have had the british one for some years and have just started getting the american show, what fun it is.

5:15 AM  

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