Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Welcome to the Swamp

Washington D.C. is literally built on swampland, but Illinois IS a swamp that apparently has an endless parade of elected officials preoccupied with their own personal gain. Despite pious claims to the contrary, our Governor is now portrayed in all his venal glory in the telephone intercepts that provide damning evidence in the criminal complaint released today after his arrest on corruption charges. His statements are breathtaking in their self centered arrogant assumptions about what Blago could extract from the President-elect. Gregory House, that televison paragon of a self centered, arrogant, sarcastic doctor pales in comparison.

Blago starts on Election Day:

On November 4, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Deputy Governor A. This was the same day as the United States Presidential election. With respect to the Senate seat, Deputy Governor A suggested putting together a list of things that ROD BLAGOJEVICH would accept in exchange for the Senate seat. ROD BLAGOJEVICH responded that the list “can’t be in writing.” Thereafter, ROD BLAGOJEVICH discussed whether he could obtain an ambassadorship in exchange for the Senate seat.

and he keeps right on going up through December 5. The FBI agent sums it all up at the end:

In addition, in the course of the conversations over the last month, ROD BLAGOJEVICH has spent significant time weighing the option of appointing himself to the open Senate seat, and has expressed a variety of reasons for doing so, including frustration at being “stuck” as governor, a belief that he will be able to obtain greater resources if he is indicted as a sitting Senator as opposed to a sitting governor, and a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for President in 2016, avoid impeachment by the Illinois legislature, make corporate contacts that would be of value to him after leaving public office, facilitate his wife’s employment as a lobbyist, and assist in generating speaking fees should he decide to leave public office.

Poor Blago, he's "stuck" as Governor. I'd like to be stuck like that. Really I would. Instead, I am retiring at the end of the month after 32 years and 9 months of solid, dependable, honest service in the Federal sector. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, the same oath Obama has taken as Senator and will take again as President. I took that oath seriously for my entire career. Personal enrichment was not on the table. If I wanted that, I could have jumped ship to the private sector. Blago, on the other hand, has no such ethical qualms. It is clear that the governorship was only a convenient stepping stone to more money. Read the sentence about how he wants to remake his image so he can run for President in 2016.

One wonders how much of what Blago dreamed of doing was a figment of a hyperactive imagination. Change to Win says they never talked to Blago's people. Obama is saying the same. The air around the Senate seat is so toxic that the Illinois legislature is considering holding a special election. John Kass wonders whether Blago will sing for the Feds.

The usual suspects all agree: Blago needs to resign. Now.

Is it too much to hope that this is a wakeup call that will get the voters' collective attention? Or will they roll over and resume Business As Usual when the media hoopla winds down?

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