For 26 years, Republican Congressman Robert Michel has played well in
Peoria, the Everytown of American politics. He has become an
institution there, much like the local Caterpillar Tractor plant. But
along with much of the nation, Peoria (pop. 124,000) has suffered the
ravages of recession and unemployment. Caterpillar has laid off 8,000
employees, and joblessness has hovered at 16%, the highest rate since
the Depression. So for the House Republican leader, who shepherded
President Reagan's budget and tax cuts through Congress, the overriding...