The Land of Lincoln or Land of Stinkin'?
Nobody knew how low Blagojevich would go
Senate seat for sale, children used and journalists intimidated
The pages of Paulies Point have been filled with stories about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his shady activities, incompetent policies and selfish behavior. I wrote about his political pandering to senior citizens. I used him as an example why citizens should have the right to recall elected officials. And recently I explained why he is "disliked more than President Bush" and "despised as much as the congress of the United States." But not even I could imagine how low Blagojevich would go.
Imagine bidding for a seat in the United States Senate on Ebay? What about living in a country that doesn't elect their leaders, but sells political representation to the person willing to write the biggest check? You no longer have to Imagine.
According to the office of the U.S. Attorney, Governor Blagojevich ran such a pay-for-play scheme. First prize was the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. "The Senate seat "is a f**king valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing," Blagojevich allegedly said on wiretaps. This is only the second best example of how disturbing Blago's mind works. He didn't view his decision to replace Obama as an important responsibility of his office. What he saw was an opportunity for financial gain or at worst further his political career. "I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain," Blagojevich was recorded saying. "You hear what I'm saying. And if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself."
While the media reports and political pundits are concentrating on the above aspect of the indictment, I don't believe this is Blagojevich at his worst.
The indicted governor promised to make 8 million dollars available to Children's Memorial Hospital as long as a hospital executive contributed $50,000 to Blagojevich's campaign fund.
According to the 74 page indictment affidavit, "intercepted phone conversations between Rod Blagojevich and others indicate that Rod Blagojevich is contemplating rescinding his commitment of state funds to benefit Children's Memorial Hospital because Hospital Executive 1 has not made a recent campaign contribution."
Let me put this in more simple terms. Unless some hospital big wig gives Blago a 50k check, he was going take away 8 million dollars he had recently made available to help sick children.
Take a moment, look at your kids and tell me you aren't filled with anger... I didn't think so.
It may be despicable to sell a seat in the U.S. Senate, but to even conceive of taking away money allocated to help sick children, can only be described as inhumane.
A word that has gained traction in describing Blagojevich is a term usually saved for serial killers, Sociopath. While nobody is accusing the governor of murder, his self-serving behavior, feelings of entitlement, pathological lying and charming appearance, while all along being engulfed with hidden hostility, makes him a textbook case.
The Blago saga is far from over. As Illinois residents got ready for work this morning, the big question being asked on television, radio and in the newspapers was “who is senate candidate #5?” This appears to be a sitting congressman who discussed paying the governor his asking price for the seat. The candidates that are believed to be on Blago’s original short list are representatives Jesse Jackson Jr., Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez and former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. Most likely one of these names will also get a phone call from the U.S. Attorney asking them to open their front door and put on handcuffs.
On the immediate agenda is the future of the governor’s office. Democrats and Republicans are almost unanimously calling for his resignation. However very few representatives believe he will resign and therefore talks of Impeachment are on the table.
What must be made clear to people outside of Illinois is that nobody is surprised Blagojevich has been indicted. Since 2003 he has been under numerous federal investigations. People have been joking about former governor and convicted felon George Ryan becoming cell-mates with Blagojevich. Everyone knew this day was coming.
What nobody predicted was how low Blago would stoop. Selling senate seats, denying medical funds for children and I haven’t even addressed the fact that he intimidated the Chicago Tribune. Demanding they fire editorial writers who were unfriendly to him or he would withhold funding and tax breaks, regarding the sale of Wrigley Field.
Over the next few days expect increased calls for his resignation and by next week impeachment proceedings to begin. A special election is being discussed to fill the vacant senate seat, but that may be rescinded by the Democratic establishment when they realize that they could loose the seat to the GOP.
Blagojevich will be offered a deal that will spare his family. His wife Patty, who also is as legitimate as a three-dollar bill, won’t be indicted and be able to raise their kids in the family home. In exchange he will have to play ball. This includes admitting guilt, naming accomplices, paying fines and serving time.
Even if justice is served and Blagojevich goes to prison, the level of corruption is so great in Cook County that his conviction will only make a dent into the culture of corruption that has plagued this state, especially Cook County, for over a half-century.
The Land of Lincoln will still be the Land of Stinkin'.