Melissa Bean Goes MIA on Health Care

NW burbs a health care battleground

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Aug 21, 2009  |  Updated 3:02 PM CDT
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Scones of Shame

Melissa Bean

Melissa Bean is the latest Illinois pol to bow out of the health care debate.

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The northwest suburban swing district of U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean is emerging as hotly contested ground in the national health care debate.

And that means Bean - a moderate Democrat - is taking all kinds of grief from her constituents, is facing enormous pressure from party officials, and is the focus of intense scrutiny from the media and both sides of the blogosphere.

It also explains why, like many other elected officials, she hasn't been willing to hold a town hall meeting. NSFW.

"Bean is a coward, plain and simple," writes local conservative blogger John Ruberry (aka Marathon Pundit).

Ruberry tried, without success, to get his name added to the phone list for one of Bean's closely-held teleconference calls on health care last night - her alternative to holding a town hall.

"Where is Melissa Bean?" asks Woodstock resident Mark Montgomery in a letter to the Northwest Herald today.

On the phone, apparently. With about 4,400 people.

That's how many folks were able to listen in on the first of two such calls last night, according to the Daily Herald.

Bean took questions from about a dozen of those on the line and, most notably, said she was open to the so-called public option but hadn't made up her mind on how she would vote once a final bill is determined.

"The reality is there isn't yet a bill to support or not support," she said.

Meanwhile, national conservative pundit/blogger Michelle Malkin, who currently has the top book on the New York Times Best Sellers list, handed Bean a Cone of Shame Award this morning for apparently scheduling a $25 "town hall breakfast" while only being willing to talk about health care at no charge on the phone.

A Scone of Shame might be more appropriate. But buy plenty to go around.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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