Blago Won’t Lego

Published: December 13, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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What will it take for some people to get the message?

In the case of Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (he’s the guy that succeeded in convicting former Vice-Presidential aid “Scooter” Libby) comes knocking on your door, the news can’t be good.

Blagojevich’s first response:  “You’re joking, right?”

What isn’t a joke is how the Illinois governor flaunted his power to many in Chicago, a town with the notorious distinction of being the one of the most corrupt in history.  (Former Governor Jim Ryan is still behind bars for corruption).

After Blagojevich was released on bail, after he announced that he would not be stepping down as the state’s governor, it didn’t take long for the next shoe to drop.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan went to the state supreme court “…Friday to strip scandal-plagued Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his powers,” the Washington Post reported.

Ms. Madigan said, “I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but these are extraordinary circumstances.”

“The attorney general asked the court for a temporary restraining order or an injunction that prevents Blagojevich from serving as governor. The filing says he is ‘unable to serve as governor due to disability and should not rightfully continue to hold that office.’

‘The pervasive nature and severity of these pending charges disable Mr. Blagojevich from making effective decisions on critical, time-sensitive issues,’ the filing said.

Madigan’s “…motion indicates that his inability to serve because of the scandal is akin to a debilitating health issue,” the Post report said.

“Mr. Blagojevich is unable to distinguish between his financial interests and his official duties and between illegal acts and legal conduct, rendering him incapable of legitimately exercising his ability as governor,” the Attorney General Madigan said in the motion.

“His ability to provide effective leadership has been eliminated and the state government is paralyzed.”

Like Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens before him, we are once again faced with the question:  Who’s interest is the Illinois governor best serving?

Answer:  Clearly his own.

The front page of today’s (December 13) Post reports that John Harris, Gov. Blagojevich’s chief of staff has resigned amid the allegations of corruption having to do with the selling of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

Apparently, he gets the message: that anyone in political office cannot do an effectively work for the people of the state with a gigantic cloud of doubt hanging over their head; particularly when that doubt has to do with fundamental credibility.

Despite the legal “complications” involved in a removing a sitting governor, what disturbs most people, including myself, is the fact that such a highly visible, elected official would be so arrogant as to directly state in phone conversations that he was looking for money in exchange for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

“Perhaps the distinction rests on the fact that Governor Blagojevich was so foolish as to explicitly demand contributions in return for official actions, whereas most politicians are smart enough to leave such matters unstated,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Just when you think unethical activities have reached an all-time low, someone always manages to find a way to lower the bar, farther.

On another note, is it me or does Blagojevich bear an uncanny resemblance to another iconic figure?

This can’t be helping his reputation, either!


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