If you live in Illinois you are probably hoping the Governor, Rod Blagojevich will just go away. If you are also a politician, you are probably hoping he can be eased out of office without being forced to allow the people of Illinois to elect a replacement for Obama’s open Senate seat. I, on the other hand, am hoping that Blago hangs on for another two years.
Blago has been “defanged” and there is little further damage he can do in two years with everyone watching his every move. It’s not as though the Illinois government has done anything worthwhile for the people of Illinois since they dumped Dan Rostenkowski. We may in fact, owe Blago a vote of thanks for bringing “pay for play” politics out of the closet.
There is nothing unusual about “pay for play”, and there is nothing unusual about an Illinois politician drawing the attention of U.S. attorneys. What is so unusual it that it has grabbed front-page headline all over the country. This is the first time in a long time that the American people have gotten a good look at just what kind of government we continue to elect without a second thought.
Those who are attempting to get Gov. Blago to resign or, better yet, get him impeached often wail, “The people of Illinois deserve better”. Not true. In a democracy, the people deserve exactly the type of government they elect, and they elected Blago, not once, but twice. It’s not as though they didn’t know how Illinois politics worked. After all, their last Governor is still serving time in a federal prison. What’s more, at the time of his last election it was well known that he was already under investigation by the feds.
Just today fifteen Chicago building inspectors were charged with accepting bribes to look the other way as developers flaunted building regulations and zoning laws. That’s the Illinois-Chicago way. Before those of you in other states begin to feel overly smug, notice that few politicians anywhere are condemning Blago for doing anything wrong other than getting caught in an awkward wiretap and using colorful language in doing so.
Pay to play is considered okay if you do it for campaign contributions, and not for your personal enrichment. This is especially true if you are smart enough to make it appear that the “pay” is voluntary and not coerced. One of the unexpected consequences of Obama’s raiding the halls of Congress to fill out his White House Staff is the number of House and Senate Seats being put on the market.
Even as we bemoan Blago”s attempt to leverage benefits from Obama’s former Senate seat, millions of dollars are going into campaign coffers as repayment for plush assignments in the Congressional hierarchy. According to an article in “The Hill” December 16, the going price for a choice chairmanship for a Congressional committee can run as high as one to two million dollars. Maybe Blago just overpriced the Illinois Senate seat.
According to The Hill, “The chairmen are expected to pay $500,000 in dues, and raise at least $1 million. Top leaders are expected to pay at least $800,000 and raise $2.5 million. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hit her target of raising $25 million.
People with less power pay less, according to a chart provided to The Hill by a lawmaker outraged by the link between policy and fundraising.
There’s ‘exclusive subcommittee chairs,’ then regular members of Ways and Means, Appropriations and the other exclusive committees, down to rank-and-file members, who are to pay dues of $125,000 and raise $75,000.”
Then there are the hereditary positions like Mayor of Chicago and President of the Cook County Board passed down from father to son. And don’t forget Lisa Madigan, the Illinois State’s Attorney who petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to declare Blagojevich “unfit to hold office”. Lisa is the daughter of Michael Madigan, one of the top power brokers in Illinois politics.
I suppose we should not leave out Caroline Kennedy who is attempting to claim the New York Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Clinton’s move to Secretary of State. Her qualifications for office? —Why, she’s a “Kennedy” don’tcha know. Speaking of Clinton, she and Bill have become multi-millionaires since leaving the White House, thanks to contributions and speaking fees from governments all over the globe, particularly the middle east. What better experience could one have for Secretary of State?
Yep, leave Blago alone. What better poster child could we have for what’s wrong with American politics. If he is kicked out now all will be forgiven and forgotten before the 2010 election cycle. Just maybe if he is left in office till then, voters may awake from their slumber and think twice before casting a ballot for more of the same, even if it does have the label of “change”.
Cross posted at, Illinois Conservative