Blagojevich: Cashing In On the Big Time

Holly already broke this story here, but in terms of media coverage regarding the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, this headline from the Chicago Tribune really has to take the cake.

Blagojevich’s Senate Selection Process Investigated

Really? You’re investigating his selection process? Given the details leaking out already, isn’t that somewhat akin to checking out Jeffrey Dahmer’s kitchen for questionable cooking techniques?

In one charge related to the appointment of a senator to replace Barack Obama, prosecutors allege that Blagojevich sought appointment for himself as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union, in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.

Another charge alleges Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of him in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

A brief question for the readers. Assuming that there is some truth to these allegations, what sort of thought process had to go into actions like this? Here you are, Governor of the state and you are fully aware that you have been under investigation for ages. You know that federal officials are watching you, following you, probably tapping your phones. Suddenly, a Senator and member of your party is elected President and you are placed in the rare position of appointing a successor to further fill out the Democrats’ majority in the upper chamber.

So your first thought is, “Hey! I’ve got an idea… I could really cash in on this Senate seat!” Does Governor Blagojevich just come from a background of Chicago politics so steeped in corruption that he’s actually arrogant enough to think he could casually get away with that?

Follow-up question: people have been alleging close ties between Obama and the Governor all through the recent election, though nothing concrete ever seemed to surface. Does Rod think he’s got some leverage there in some fashion? I’ll leave it up to you to discuss.

2 Comments

  1. “Assuming that there is some truth to these allegations, what sort of thought process had to go into actions like this?”

    Hee, hee — the governor said it himself, that he needed to help himself and his family financially.

    [Readers, note that the entire document below is worth reading, but to go to the most explicit seat-selling material, go to the bottom and go back up a few pages.]

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/acrobat/200

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    “Does Governor Blagojevich just come from a background of Chicago politics so steeped in corruption that he’s actually arrogant enough to think he could casually get away with that?”

    Yes. You're in New York, Jazz, that has as bad or a worse reputation (for dysfunctionality more than for corruption), when it comes to misuse of office by the politically ambitious (Spitzer and now Cuomo who is aping Spitzer). It's another notorious Blue Nation situation. And there's a Senate seat becoming available there, too!

    “… close ties between Obama and the Governor … Does Rod think he’s got some leverage there in some fashion?”

    There are ties, and they're disturbingly close*, but readers can see for themselves in the statements Blagojevich is reputed to have made that the governor exhibits a psychological and a political distance between him and his people and Obama and Obama's people, at the same time, and expresses concern about conflicts between him and “them” when it comes to selecting who will get the Senate seat.

    Note also that the governor is involved in other things besides the Senate-seat-sale activity, though they are related. (His shakedown of the Tribune is related to helping him avoid impeachment, while at the same time, the Senate seat is seen by the governor as a legal sanctuary to which to flee in order to escape impeachment.)

    Finally, it was probably best for this to have happened now rather than later, meaning now, before the seat was about to be awarded, or taken by the governor, so the new President Obama would not have been tainted by this. Obama remains clean at this time. In fact, because Obama no doubt knew of at least some things, it wouldn't surprise me if Obama or his people tipped off the feds, and if in fact this wasn't among the things Obama discussed in his initial private meeting with President Bush. Not only the details but the timing of when action should be taken, to forestall any taint of the Senate seat and leaving it in Obama's hands or at least out of the governor's, in the worst case (come to pass), as we now are observing.

    * Which is another reason why I advocated elsewhere that dinosaur UAW head Gettelfinger be chosen as someone relevent by Obama to be the next person to fill the dinosaur Secretary of Labor position at the dinosaur Department of Labor, rather than have someone from ACORN, someone else with a similarly repellent activist background at Change to Win, or someone else at SEIU, and even to some extent anyone who's activist as AFSCME, to run the Department of Labor, because Change to Win is one grimy union-related activist group associated with the governor's corruption.

  2. “Does Governor Blagojevich just come from a background of Chicago politics so steeped in corruption that he’s actually arrogant enough to think he could casually get away with that?”

    So he got a little careless. :)

    I think he is guilty and is appropriately punished.

    As far as the headline, “Blagojevich's Senate Selection Process Investigated” is a classic! I love it… it's so understated. Perhaps those Tribune people learned to be careful when writing unkind truths about the good Governor Blagojevich. :)

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