Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blagojevich is going bye-bye

Yesterday, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by federal agents on charges of corruption, and attempting to bid out Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. the lead FBI agent in charge claimed that his team was "sickened" and "disgusted" by the corrupt nature of conversations between Blagojevich and his cronies on wiretaps. (What were these guys, rookie agents? Ever heard of the Daley Machine? How about Anton Cermak, the corrupt mayor of Chicago when Al Capone was around? And yes, I know I'm comparing mayors to the governor, but I find it astonishing that the FBI guys are appalled or surprised that corruption exists in Illinois.) Needless to say, Blagojevich is corrupt, and all we have to say about his arrest is good riddance. He marks the fourth consecutive governor to be arrested on charges of corruption.

So what's going to happen now? The Chicago Tribune's John Kass says it'd be smart for him to start singing. (HT to Hugh Hewitt for the link.) That'd be the smart thing to do, for him, but his cronies have to be wetting themselves at the idea that he might reveal something incriminating about them. And just think about this. If he names, say, a half dozen people and that brings them down, what are the chances they'll roll over on others in the machine? The chances are high if it means that all those that roll over get a lesser sentence. And, of course, there's the question of how far will this go? Will it reach the steps of the White House post-inauguration? Obama has claimed in the past that he and Blagojevich weren't "close," but we've heard that before when he claimed that Bill Ayers was just "someone in my neighborhood" despite the comments from his own campaign staff saying that they were close.

There's also the case of Obama's statement yesterday that he had no involvement in this pay-to-play aspect of the scandal. Allah dug up the YouTube yesterday of Axelrod blowing the whistle on that statement because according to him Obama did field some names from Blagojevich. Of course the Obama staff has said that Axelrod misspoke. (I wonder how Axe likes it under that bus?)
The state legislature is moving this morning to strip Blagojevich of his power to appoint a replacement for Obama's vacant seat:

The state’s top two legislative leaders Tuesday said they will move fast to seize control of the process of selecting a replacement for Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, taking that power away from Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In separate statements, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones said they will call a special legislative session next week to repeal the state law that now gives the governor the power to fill Mr. Obama’s seat. Both said they will press instead for a special election to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Obama’s term.

“I am prepared to convene the House next Monday to change state law to provide for a special election for the U.S. Senate replacement,” Mr. Madigan said. “I would urge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to take note of this action.”

Oh, don't worry, Mr. Madigan. Senator Dick "Turban" Durbin is well aware of the need to move forward on this issue:

"The General Assembly should enact a law as quickly as possible calling for a special election to fill the Senate vacancy of Barack Obama. No appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement."

HT to the Purple Avenger over at Ace's place for that link and Durbin's statement yesterday.

Why move on stripping him of his power to appoint? Because in the state of Illinois the governor can appoint a successor to a vacant congressional seat even if he's in jail. That and Durbin has it right. Any appointment by Blagojevich wouldn't been seen as credible. So give the Democrats this much credit to deal with a dirtbag like Blagojevich. The problem is that without a special election we believe any appointment, even if it's carried out by the Lieutenant Governor, would be seen as illegitimate. That's true because no one knows if the LG and Blagojevich were on the same page. We just don't know, and we won't know until Fitzgerald really gets going on both Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris.

Four questions for readers. 1) How far will this go for Blagojevich? 2) Who else will go down with him? 3) How will this effect the transition for Obama? 4) How long will this plague the Obama administration if it does at all?

For the first question we posit that it could take down a good deal of his cronies if he sings. If he keeps his yap shut, this ends with him and Harris only. For the second question he could implicate a number of Machine pols with him including the likes of Emil Jones, Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn, Todd Stroger, and maybe even Richard Daley. To answer question three, right now the only way this effects the transition is by connecting the dots of those within his transition team to Blagojevich and his corrupt politics. If someone big is involved, like David Axelrod, they're going to go under the Obama bus. And question four, if Fitzgerald does the bull-in-a-china-shop routing he's known for, he could be a thorn in the side of the administration especially if he demands to know "What did Obama know and when did he know it?"

The drawback to this is that once he's president he can remove Fitzgerald. Despite the fact it's an ongoing investigation, Obama would have the power to remove Patrick Fitzgerald. If he does this then you know he's protecting Blagojevich, plain and simple; that also shows that he shares a taint of the corruption that Blagojevich is so comfortable and familiar with. (Consider it a pardon, pre-trial.)

As Chicago is my former home, we'll be watching this as it unfolds. I have known for a long time that Chicago was built on corruption, and if the feds have finally had enough of this garbage then they'll take down the whole machine if they can. The only worry we have is with Fitzgerald. Will he press forward fast and hard, or will we get the Fitzgerald who went after Scooter Libby and let Dick Armitage walk? We hope it's the former rather than the latter.

Publius II

1 Comments:

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December 10, 2008 at 3:39 PM  

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