Debra J. Saunders

To recap: Stark is rude and remote. But wait, there's more, he's irrelevant. "Other than criticism from the sidelines," reads The Almanac of American Politics 2006, "he played little role in the debate on the Medicare/prescription drug bill in 2003" -- and health care is supposed to be Stark's signature issue.

Stark, who was first elected in 1972, has to work at being irrelevant in an institution built on seniority. Then again, how can Stark tout his seniority when he is busy bashing Republicans for being "elderly white males"? (Yes, the congressman needs a mirror.)

GOP analyst Allan Hoffenblum told me that because Democrats are unhappy with Stark, there was talk last year of finding a name primary challenger. Didn't happen. Noting that Stark first won office by beating an 81-year-old incumbent, Hoffenblum mused, "Maybe when (Stark) turns 81, some upstart will defeat him."

Why not mention Stark's puerile vocabulary? I asked Bruno Monday. He answered that he didn't want to turn off voters by being "too negative." I wonder: After you've lost by 48 points, why not take the risk?

On the other hand, maybe Bruno is onto something. He could try this for a slogan: Behaves in public.

Debra J. Saunders

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