Hit & Run

A Jack/Jeri Ryan Story W/O Sex Clubs

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Now that I've got your attention, allow me to point to an interesting and overlooked angle on the highly entertaining story of the Star Trek Sex God and the Man Who Would Enter Cubicles With Mattresses on the Floor:

Ryan was running for a Senate seat being vacated by a one-term incumbent, Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.). Given the nearly 100 percent return rate for incumbent senators, why on Earth would the guy be leaving the World's Greatest Deliberative Body and Brake Shop? Radley Balko supplied an interesting answer awhile back on Foxnews.com. In brief, it's because Fitzgerald ran afoul of the GOP by being a man of principle, especially when it came to federal pork-barrel spending in the Land of Lincoln. Writes Balko:

Fitzgerald?s crowning achievement in his brief career was his opposition to the federalization of a planned expansion of Chicago?s O?Hare International Airport (search)….

He was the only senator in the U.S. Congress to vote against the $15 billion airline bailout [post 9/11], despite the fact that United Airlines is based in Illinois and American Airlines has a major hub at O?Hare.

Fitzgerald next earned the wrath of fellow Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert….Fitzgerald and Hastert first tangled over Fitzgerald?s refusal to support Hastert?s efforts to secure a glut of federal funding for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, located in Illinois. Hastert pulled rank to secure the money, and Fitzgerald criticized him publicly for it….

Sen. Fitzgerald?s final sin was to nominate someone outside the state of Illinois to serve as U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Illinois, based in Chicago…. Instead of rewarding an aspiring local attorney for his political support with the nomination, as is custom in the U.S. Senate, Fitzgerald was more concerned about the ongoing investigation of then-governor and fellow Republican George Ryan, and wanted to be sure an aggressive prosecutor independent of local politics was assigned to the case. So he went out of state and nominated prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), who indicted Ryan on corruption charges last December.

Whole thing here. And for a list of the Top 10 Conservative Idiots (spoiler: Jack Ryan is No. 3) go here.