Holiday Blago Edition
Ho, ho, freaking, ho to y'all.
Sorry for the lack of postings lately, but the holiday frenzy is upon TID and between the social swirl and family stuff and incessant shopping and the other ten-thousand and one obligations and chores, I'm afraid posting about the news of the day hasn't been at the top of the list.
The fever dream of somehow tarnishing Obama with our hapless Governor continues to be what Republicans want most for Christmas. But they've been very, very bad this year and I'm afraid they won't get much more than a George W. Bush to hang around their neck.
Sure, they'll huff and puff and rant in mock outrage about things that are really incredibly mundane and ordinary and try to make it seem as if Obama is some modern day Capone. But really, did you think they'd at least make the effort to try out some other act besides their incredibly phoney, and stale "guilt by association" gambit?
The Dems don't know how good they have it with an opposition party who literally has nothing to fall back on but a strategy which was an utter failure during the campaign. They just don't know when to quit. Maybe there should be some sort of intervention?
It will likely emerge that Rahm Emanuel talked to Blago or his staff a lot about the appointment. I'm sure this obvious and completely expected fact will be greated with howls of indignation from the right wing flying monkeys.
I also wouldn't be surprised if, beyond that, there emerged some stuff that made Emanual look like what he is, namely, a savvy Chicago and D.C. political operator who knows how to deal with situations like this. He won't come out like some white knight, but neither will there be any evidence that he was trying to broker any improper deals for the seat.
Worst case scenario? Emanuel or some other transition official will be accused of knowing that Blago was trying to horse trade over the appointment and they didn't immediately run around with their hair on fire and dash off to the prosecutors to rat him out. (for what in essence likely isn't a crime.)
Those of us familiar with Blago and Illinois politics in general were treated to a grand spectacle of just how taboid and innacurate and irresponsible the press can be when a piece of raw meat like this story is thrown in front of them.
They didn't know Blago from a ham sandwich before last week. But they quickly rushed to tell the story. Which consisted of a few common points.
First, the prosecutors announcement was overblown and self-serving, but it caused the press to follow the, "Illinois is such a corruption ridden state it's like some third world banana republic!" story line.
Yes, Illinois has corruption, some of it pretty damn foul. But so do most states. Another point lost in it all is that, for the most part, all the corruption stories are from the Chicago area, just as it's always been focused on large cities across the country for literally centuries, though not exclusively. The vast majority of the state runs quite well.
No matter. The Asst. dude to Fitzgerald had to grandstand and make his little quip that if Illinois isn't the most corrupt state in the entire country, it sure is strong competition. The press ran with that and portrayed the entire state as if it was a huge cesspool. (Well, a bigger cesspool than it really is.)
Then the inevitable trivializing of the story, focusing on Blago's hair, his foul language. (Imagine! A politician who SWEARS in conversation which he THINKS is private and among close associates. Horrors!)
Then they noted that his wife is a king-sized meah-meah biotch. This I was rather pleased to see mention. In my very brief observation of Mrs. Blago over the years, she's always come across as incredibly arrogant, rather rude and haughty, and just generally not a nice person at all.
I was left thinking that part of the reason the cheese seems to be slipping off Blago's cracker, so to speak, is that his wife has been pushing him so hard that he's about a bubble out of plumb. (so to speak.)
She may be the one with outsized ambitions, pushing him toward the laughable goal of a presidential run. She might be the one beating him up all along to make her the country's First Lady (shudder) and against the backdrop of his increasing isolation and unpopularity, might explain why he comes across as nearly frantic to get ahead, one way or another. The tapes revealed that his top concerns was for their financial future and for her getting a plumb status job somewhere. (which she almost certainly isn't remotely qualified for.)
The Obama seat was THE very last card in Blago's hand. He was going down, and going down hard, and it was the only thing of value he had left. He was bound and determined to play it for all it was worth, after all, it was his last shot.
And maybe Patty would neuter him and make him wish he was dead if he didn't use this last chance to get them something to ensure their future financial and social status on the way out the door. They didn't go through all this hell for nothing, was probably the operative attitude.
And only now, FINALLY, has anyone in the press stopped hyperventilating enough to realize that the criminal complaint against Blago may not really detail any actual crimes, and the case against him is very weak. That's kind of important.
Actually, it's the lead of the story. But of course it was never even considered until yesterday by the press, and only AFTER Blago's lawyer reminded them of this rather inconvenient fact.
But the Blago frenzy resulted from the press having to scrape up bits and pieces of anything to fill air time while nothing was happening. All they could do day after tedious day was speculate about the Obama transition and show Bush's embarrassing and lame tour to try to salvage his un-salvagable image as the world counts the minutes until he's off the stage for good.
So it was like tossing a steak to a starving pack of hounds when the Blago story broke. The over-coverage was guaranteed.
And politicians rushed to the cameras with equally unsound theories and proposals, as when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the daughter of Blago's blood enemy, speaker Mike Madigan, soberly anounced that she would ask the IL Surpreme Court to issue a verdict on whether Blago is even fit to serve as Governor.
THIS situation is the real Illinois corruption, the rampant nepotism that runs through state politics. It's why all this corruption continues and efforts to change it is met with cold fury by hacks with linage back generations. Why not just start a House of Lords and get over it?
To see Lisa Madigan on Meet the Press questioned about whether she was doing this stunt because she'd like the Obama seat she otherwise would NEVER get with Blago in office, she simply lied saying, no. She then responded to being asked whether she IS interested in the seat, to which she responded that, yes, she was interested, but she was busy trying to get Blago out of office and that she won't be able to "think about" grabbing the seat for, "a long time, unfortunately."
Darn the luck. She has to spend her time trying to get her families sworn enemy out of office before she can start campaigning for the seat. THAT is what's wrong with Illinois politics at the top. But Blago's taken all the focus off of the real rot.
Another proposal to deal with the embarassment that is our Governor is one floated almost immediately by Sen. Dick Durbin, and one apparently endorsed by Obama as well. And that is to hold a special election to select Obama's successor.
Ironically, that idea has been seen as a god-send to Illinois Republicans, who've gone as far as spending millions on a TV ad to promote the idea, figuring that they stand a better than even chance to FINALLY get a Republican senator by riding the backlash against Blago and the incestuous Dem leadership.
Not surprisingly, Sen. Mike Jacobs is on record as firmly supporting the Republican endorsed idea, weirdly saying, "I think the people have spoken on this matter. I think the people want an election they want an election on the United States Senate and they want an election for governor, period."
This begs the question for the Senator. Just when exactly did the people "speak" on this issue? It's only been a matter of days since the issue appeared!
Apparently the Senator has polled every Illinois resident in the few days since the story broke and knows their wishes on this very complex issue. Beware the pol who falls back on the hackneyed, lame, "The people want...." blah, blah, blah, which always happens to be what the pol or his contributors happen to want. Amazing, isn't it?
Obviously they don't have the slightest CLUE what people favor, prefer, or "want", but that doesn't stop them from spouting it as if it's rock solid fact.
He also seems to favor anything no matter how flawed to get Blago out of office quickly.
While obviously the most democratic way to proceed, this would cost a lot of money the state doesn't have, and again, it would open the door to a Republican having a better than even shot of winning.
So now we'll likely be treated to Dems opposing the very thing that the only remaining Illinois Senator and it's favorite son president-elect endorse.
And now Boss Madigan has OKed an impeachment effort to begin in the House. It's off to a rocky start.
Maybe 43rd Ward Chicago Alderman Paddy Bauler was right when he said after Richard J. Dailey defeated a good government, or "goo-goo" candidate the 1955 mayoral election, "Chicago ain't ready for reform."?
After all, the city's unoffical slogan has been said to be, "Where's mine?"
(Bauler was also reported to have said, "Them guys in the black suits and narrow ties, them Ivy-League types, them goo-goos - they think the whole thing is on the square."
And to Harry (his son), "If anything happens to me, I don't want you to call the priest or the undertaker. Just get your ass down to the bank and get them deposit boxes.")