Will Illinois, the land of Lincoln, get a gift by the time Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in February rolls around? The state’s Lieutenant Governor thinks so. He thinks that by then Illinois’ Governor Rod Blagojevich — he of the hair, Senate Seat For Sale Scandal, and four-letter words — will be gone:
The lieutenant governor of Illinois said Sunday he is certain scandal-plagued Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be out of office in less than two months.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, speaking from Chicago, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” he believes Blagojevich will be impeached and convicted by the Illinois Legislature by Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial birthday celebration on Feb. 12.
Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on charges alleging he schemed to swap Obama’s vacant Senate seat for profit, shaking down a hospital executive for campaign donations and other wrongdoing. The governor has declared his innocence and says he will fight the charges.
Quinn described Blagojevich as “isolated” in his decision-making and surrounded by a “tight palace guard” that “tells him what he wants to hear and not what he needs to know.”
“He needs to know he’s disgraced himself and he’s disgraced the people of Illinois,” Quinn said.
The lieutenant governor said he hasn’t spoken to Blagojevich since August 2007.
Quinn would become governor if Blagojevich leaves office. He said he would call for a special election to fill Obama’s seat.
Indeed, if he were reading tea leaves, the Gov would want to run out right now — and buy a pound of coffee.
Public opinion has turned totally against him. The most charitable poll was a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday that found that 56 percent questioned felt that Gov. Blag was the “naughtiest politician in 2008.”
Still, that’s better than his approval rating, which was at 6% a few weeks ago.
He has nowhere to go but up.
Unless it’s to jail.
Which seems even more likely given this really bad legal news for the man who has sandbagged what should have been a happy holiday season for Democrats:
The Illinois House committee considering the removal of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has rejected a request from the governor’s lawyer to subpoena two top advisers to President-elect Barack Obama, the committee’s chairwoman said Saturday.
The United States attorney in Chicago, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, asked the committee in a letter on Friday not to subpoena the two advisers, Rahm Emanuel, who will be Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, and Valerie Jarrett. Mr. Fitzgerald also asked that Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Democrat of Illinois, and Nils Larsen, an executive vice president of the Tribune Company, not be called to testify.
Any such subpoenas, Mr. Fitzgerald said, would interfere with the criminal investigation into the activities of Mr. Blagojevich and others. A lawyer for Mr. Blagojevich, Edward Genson, had asked the committee earlier in the week to issue the subpoenas.
“We’re not interested in undercutting the U.S. attorney’s criminal investigation,” the chairwoman, State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, said on Saturday.
It’s hard to see Blagojevich emerging from this with anything less than leaving office in abject political humiliation. The U.S. attorney’s request gives the Demmies perfect justification for just leaving it all to the courts — where Blag cannot be expected to find much sympathy given a tiny thing called audio tapes. The Democratic establishment in Illinois and the incoming Obama administration will most certainly want an example to be made of Blagojevich. As will the courts.
And as if his humiliation isn’t complete, now there’s this:
A painting of Blagojevich, the next installment in Chicago artist Bruce Elliott’s “nude governor series,” is nearly complete and will hang at the Old Town Ale House, next to Elliott’s naked Sarah Palin.
“The Cavity Search” depicts Blago handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit pulled down to his knees, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Perhaps the Governor should turn the other cheek.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.