Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Crane blog.

I did my little part yesterday to oust one of the more notorious members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the soon-to-be formerly Hon. Phillip Crane of the 8th district in Illinois. I moved into his district last year, and I didn’t need the state Democratic Party to tell me that he had fossilized in office, though that has been the party’s message throughout the campaign. (Also, he’s reputedly a drunk.) Anyway, it’s often a good idea to vote against incumbents, and as it happens Rep. Crane was the number-one incumbent in the House, having occupied his seat since 1969.

He was also the subject of one of the most brilliant direct-mail campaigns I’ve ever seen in politics. Almost every day for about 10 days before the election, we received a large postcard, paid for by the state Democratic Party, all featuring the same picture of Rep. Crane photoshopped onto a variety of backgrounds. Each card had a different headline, and backgrounds to match, along with Phil in the foreground in a different outfit: GREETINGS FROM COSTA RICA (tropics, him in a floral t-shirt)… SCOTLAND (golf course, him with clubs)… ROME (Coliseum, him with a camera around his neck)… etc. The point being that Rep. Crane was fond of junkets at lobbyists’ expense. “Junket King” was on several of the cards, too.

Hey, I can’t really hold that against him. That would be rank hypocrisy on my part – junket? Where to? I’ll get packed! And perhaps it was better that he was in far-flung locales, rather than making mischief on Capitol Hill. Still, it was a memorable set of mailings, and must have had some impact on the vote. As for me, voting against him was more a matter of housecleaning, cutting away the deadwood, mixing up the compost. Necessary from time to time.


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