Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wow! The Illinois Governor Gets Really, Really Busted!

When was the last time a law enforcement official marched up to a governor’s mansion at 6:30 in the morning, knocked on the door and said “You are under arrest”? That’s what U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald did this morning to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on charges, among many others, of trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Several things about this astonishing bust deserve mention.

Of course, the accusations are shocking, but I have also been dismayed by the number of Republicans – pundits, bloggers and emailers – who are saying that this means Obama, too, is corrupt. And, far worse, there are people so blindly partisan that they are openly hoping that is the case.

As a matter of fact, there is indeed an Obama connection. According to political insiders from Chicago, Blagojevich approached Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers, offering the appointment to her in return for a sizable payment. The word is, she immediately went to Obama’s chief-of-staff, Rahm Emanuel, and they blew the whistle on Blagojevich. Presumably, this will eventually come out in the trial. (The Obama haters will be so disappointed!)

Also worth mentioning: the U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, is the very same guy who prosecuted and nailed Dick Chaney’s right-hand man, Scooter Libby. When that happened, Fitzgerald was shrilly attacked as an over-zealous and out-of-control prosecutor. (Shhhhhh. Listen ... Hear any of that talk now?)

There’s a really interesting twist to this whole sordid business: What comes next? How is Illinois going to get a new U.S. senator? Legally, only Blagojevich can make the appointment. And who in their right mind would accept that appointment?

Finally, take a look at the extensive allegations against Blagojevich. They are so egregious, so brazen, so just-plain-dumb that you have to wonder if this guy has both oars in the water. Let’s hope the prison psychiatrists can figure it all out … over the next 20 or 30 years.

1 comment:

Mike said...

More than a little praise is due to Fitzgerald for his integrity. As you point out, he's the one who suffered at the hands of the Conservative Republicans spinners. Clearly he was appointed before the Conservative Republican's White House liaison to the DoJ, one Monica Goodling, began asking prospective U.S. attorneys her famous question, "What is is about George Bush that makes you want to serve him?"

In other legal news today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals denied Conservative Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig's attempt to recant his guilty plea.