I'm not ashamed to admit that I like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Sure, he can be a little, um, eccentric, and I'm not entirely convinced that he's always in it for the right reasons. And yeah, he's maybe not the most effective congressman out there. But on issue after issue he offers an unabashedly liberal voice, absolutely unconcerned with the personal political consequences.

No, I wouldn't want a congress filled with Kucinichs, but at least a few of them are necessary to help balance his many counterparts on the right. That's why after being redistricted out of his safe Cleveland seat, I for one welcome Kucinich to run in Washington. You know, as long as he runs for a seat Democrats don't see much chance of winning.

"It is clear that Cleveland and Washington State agree on one thing: we just don't want Dennis Kucinich," state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz said in a statement earlier this week. Yeah, well, maybe. Before the redistricting maps were complete Kucinich was considering a run for an open seat in either the 1st or the 10th, districts that I know Pelz and I agree Kucinich wouldn't stand a snowball's chance of winning. Voters don't take kindly to carpetbaggers 'round these parts, and so I'd be surprised to see Kucinich even make it through our top-two primary in either of those districts, or in Representative Norm Dicks' recently vacated 6th.

Defeated in a primary for an open seat. It would be a shame to see Kucinich end his career embarrassing himself like that.

But there would be nothing embarrassing about taking one for the team, forcing a Republican incumbent like Dave Reichert or Jaime Herrera Beutler to actually fight for their jobs in WA-08 or WA-03. These are races apparently without credible Democratic challengers. Kucinich could change that.

If Kucinich wants to run for congress from Washington, fine. Just stay out of the 1st where we already have a strong Democratic field, and the 6th and 10th where Democratic frontrunners pretty much have their respective races sewn up. A challenge to Democratic incumbents in the 2nd, 7th, or 9th would also be pretty damn stupid and self-destructive. But if Kucinich wants to remain a disruptive political force for at least one more election cycle, a run at, say, Reichert would be a noble cause and well worth the price of admission.

One of the best hours on my old 710-KIRO radio show was the night Kucinich came into the studio and took questions from callers. He was terrific, parrying critics, graciously thanking supporters, and displaying a deep knowledge and understanding of the issues. Make fun of Kucinich all you want, but by comparison Reichert or Herrera Beutler would come off as the lightweights they truly are. They'd likely win, but they'd stumble and struggle in the process.

And who knows? Lightning may strike. But even if not, at least Kucinich would force Republicans to spend a little money in a district they'd otherwise take for granted.

So yeah: run, Dennis, run. As long as it's in a Republican district where you'd do Democrats more good than harm.