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Published: Friday, 5/7/2010

Starship Traficant

FRESH from a seven-year prison term for racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion, James Traficant wants to beam himself back to Congress.

The irrepressible Traficant, a former Democratic congressman from Youngstown, is loopy enough to think voters in the 17th District are eager to return him to Washington just for old time's sake.

Of course, the last thing constituents and the country need is political showmanship from a convicted felon who accepted bribes from business people and kickbacks from staff members.

Traficant's home district moved on while he did time in federal prison. It breathed a collective sigh of relief when a former Traficant aide, Democrat Tim Ryan, captured the congressional seat despite a re-election campaign that his former boss ran from behind bars.

Pressing economic issues in the region have killed any appetite voters may have had for a flamboyant pol on a comeback crusade, angling for face time on TV. The 68-year-old Traficant is an embarrassment who should take his distinctive toupee and penchant for Star Trek references to the final frontier.

Beam him up, Scotty.

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