Indeed, Langevin's camp insists it is this good-government concern at the heart of the Congressman's opposition — a concern that has powered Langevin's career since his days as a crusading Secretary of State.

Cicilline's supporters snicker a bit at the argument — divining more selfish motives in the Langevin's pronouncements and seeing, in the Congressman's outrage over being outmaneuvered, an almost embarrassing admission of political weakness.

Langevin's office seems willing to live with the label of noble outsider, for now. But the consequences of remaining above the fray seem quite clear after the events of the last few months: you lose.

David Scharfenberg can be reached at dscharfenberg@phx.com.

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