Congress is probably going to expel Ohio Rep. James Traficant. A few people are already bemoaning the fact that a certain color and bravado and impishness will be lost with his dismissal.

That's probably true. Traficant will take all those things with him when he's actually kicked out and off to a federal prison to serve time for taking kickbacks and bribery.

So you have to ask... what's worse? Missing a little color in an otherwise drab congress, or missing the corruption and criminality that comes along with the color?

This is a Congress that continues to get pilloried from a sullen Bill Clinton for his own criminal activity — that being the lie, not the sex. It should be applauded for doing the same to one of its own. equal opportunity whacking is what it should be called.

Yes, Traficant has his charms. That squirrel hide that teeters on his head comes to mind.

But requiring your staffers to work on your farm? I've got a farm, and not one of my staffers have to come sling hay or muck out stalls. Why should he be able to do that on my taxpayer dime?

And bribery? A federal jury found him guilty of that too. Bribery is colorful, no doubt, but it's a bit unseemly to claim you'll miss someone who has to go away because he got caught in such a scheme.

Aren't we in the "good riddance" phase of public life yet?

Here's a concept. how about the president and the Senate and the House of Representatives as a permanently boring set of institutions in which we actually don't want color... same as we don't want criminality? What would be wrong with our nation's leaders, our nation's taxers and spenders, being boring and colorless?

Traficant can be colorful in jail. There it's amusing, and he will be the only one to suffer from it.

Congress... that's another story altogether.

That's My Word.

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