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Bean right for her district

Melissa Bean is a different kind of Democrat by Illinois standards, more opposed to taxes, more a defender of big banks and more fiscally conservative in general.

That is to say, Bean is a leading Blue Dog Democrat, a welcomed part of the congressional delegate mix from Illinois, where one ideological size has never fit all.

We endorse Bean over right-wing Republican Joe Walsh, a venture capitalist championed by the local Tea Party, and Green candidate Bill Scheurer, a businessman. Bean is easily the best fit for the ever-evolving 8th District, spanning the north and northwest suburbs and not easily pegged. Though once rock-ribbed Republican, the district sent Bean to Congress for the first time in 2005 -- three years before the Obama tsunami of 2008.

Bean voted for the Obama administration's health care reform and is pro-choice on abortion. Specializing in Congress in financial services law, she co-wrote the Small Business Lending Act, signed into law by President Obama last week, that gives community banks access to $30 billion in capital, which could be leveraged to create $300 billion in small business lending. At the same time, in a big break from her party, she has voted for repeal of the estate tax.

Bean's willingness to buck her own party was most obvious, however, when she sought to preempt state laws protecting mortgage buyers if those laws are stronger than federal laws. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan took the opposite view -- states would be denied a powerful tool in defense of consumers -- but one doesn't have to agree with Bean's argument to see that it was informed and reasonable.

Bean has more than earned a fourth term.