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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

Special Afternoon Edition

December 9, 2008


Land of Lincoln?

I guess the news hasn't reached the webmaster at www.Illinois.gov yet. The headline at the top of the state of Illinois official web site read like this just after the news that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today:

"Governor Blagojevich Meets with Laid-off Workers Protesting at Republic Windows & Doors,"

My guess is that Governor Blagojevich has new priorities today.

Just what is it about Chicago and Illinois anyway? Pay-to-play appears to have always been the way of life in the state but, if the charges are true, trying to sell President-Elect Barack Obama's US Senate seat has to be a new low.

Of course, we are talking about the state which houses Chicago's famed political machine now led by Mayor Richard M. Daley, son of former Mayor Richard Joseph Daley.

The Chicago and Illinois political machines were famous for corruption. If the charges about Blagojevich are true, he could be the fourth Governor of the state indicted in the past four decades.

The ties to President-Elect Obama are, fortunately, not there. Although the Republican talking heads tried to tie then-Candidate Senator Obama to the Illinois and Chicago political machines, the innuendo and "six degrees of separation" stuff didn't stick.

According to news reports on MSNBC today, Blagojevich's opinion of President-Elect Obama's recommendations about who should replace him (Obama) as the Junior US Senator of Illinois were received less than enthusiastically.

"Obama's people, they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. (Blank) him,"
-MSNBC reporting on what was on one of the audio tapes containing Blagojevich's sentiments

Certainly and immediately, Right-Wing radio and the likes of Fox News Channel will try to tie President-Elect Obama to Blagojevich and his deeds. They'll use the ties Blagojevich has to Tony Rezko, the indicted Chicago fund raiser who also raised finds for Obama when he was a state's Senator, as the basis for their accusations and allegations. The best news for Obama is the language used by Blagojevich when he talks about him.

"(Blank him"

"Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a new low,"
-US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Among yesterday's big news was the bankruptcy filing of the Chicago Tribune Company. Among the Tribune's most prized possessions are the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field where the Cubs play. According to Fitzgerald, Blagojevich said on tape that he would block the Wrigley sale unless the Tribune fired those on the editorial staff who were hostile to him and his administration.

As I'm typing today's Note From a Madman, I'm also listening to US Attorney Fitzgerald quote from the secret recordings of Governor Blagojevich time and time again, and it isn't pretty. Although things can be taken out of context, it would be hard to believe that the statements, including the language, made by Blagojevich can be construed as anything but hideous.

Fitzgerald has been known as an honest broker, party affiliation aside (he is the Republican appointee who put Scooter Libby in jail). To assume that his proceeding with charges against Blagojevich is politically motivated, and that Fitzgerald is the tool being used by the GOP is ridiculous.

"Today certainly is a new low in Illinois politics,"
"If (Illinois) isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it certainly is one heck-of-a competitor,"
-Robert Grant, FBI Special Agent in charge of the Blagojevich investigation

What this means for US politics is this: The appointment to the US Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Obama is now tainted if it's going to be made by Blagojevich. For the next two years that new US Senator would have to help govern with a cloud of taint over his or her head. The recorded statements attributed to Blagojevich by both Fitzgerald and Grant can leave those who view this appointment with no other recourse. And since the US Senate decides who may join their ranks, they could refuse to seat anyone Blagojevich chooses.

If I were up for this US Senate seat, I wouldn't want to get Blagojevich's blessing. But, then again, I couldn't afford it.

Blagojevich can resign, but that appears to be a thought which probably won't enter his mind. He could wait until his situation is resolved (impeachment, acquittal or conviction) and not appoint someone unless he is exonerated.

Let's also not forget that Blagojevich could appoint a Republican as well. Talk about stirring up the pot!

The last option is for President-Elect Obama to come out and state publicly who his choice is to replace him. Assuming Blagojevich is going to stay in office until the end (and if the statements made by the US attorney's office bear out, it will end) he should do one right thing before that end and put in place Obama's choice.

The Lieutenant Governor of Illinois is Pat Quinn. The Lieutenant Governor runs for office as a separate candidate during the Primary, but they run together during the General Election, so the ties between Quinn and Blagojevich aren't like the ties between a President and his Vice President. In other words, Quinn was not chosen by Blagojevich as his running mate.

Quinn should be the man who chooses the next US Senator, a seat that he was up for himself prior to today.

But we'll have to wait and see. Maybe with one eye closed.

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg