John Fund has a fascinating profile of outgoing Illinois Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who he hails as a "brave crusade[r] against political cronyism".

The U.S. Senate would not function with 100 members such as Peter Fitzgerald, who is both self-righteous and a political loner. But it needs some members like him and Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, another senator who sometimes bucks conventional political wisdom.

Mr. Fitzgerald came to Washington determined to do what he could to clean up what the Chicago Tribune calls "the chronic corruption that stains [Illinois] with the image of a Louisiana, a New Jersey." His chief nemesis was fellow Republican George Ryan, a 64-year-old career pol who was elected governor in 1998, the same year Mr. Fitzgerald defeated Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, an ethically challenged Democrat. Mr. Fitzgerald said during his campaign that the "great divide" in our government is not partisan but "between those political insiders who use high taxes to support their lifestyles and the rest of us."

Asked who the insiders were, he bluntly replied: "They're the Republicrats--the power brokers in both parties who through clout, connections and consulting contracts manipulate our system for personal gain. They have no ideology, yet they are the ruling elites of our time. They are fleecing you, the taxpayer."

He sounds like a good guy, and this should serve as an encouragement to those of us who often fear that our government consists entirely of social vampires.



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