Blagojevich, Obama and The Chicago Way

I think most people familiar with Illinois politics expected that eventually some kind of Chicago landmine was going to go off under President-elect Barack Obama – it’s just that few people expected it might happen before the 20th of January.

Likewise, I think most informed watchers expected that Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), perhaps the most unpopular pol in Illinois history, would follow his predecessor, disgraced ex-governor George Ryan (R-IL) to prison someday, few of us anticipated the depths of the grotesque quality of Blagojevich’s grasping venality that would have made Alderman Tom Keane blush. Ryan at least didn’t talk like a thug when he raked in his small-time bribes (have to wonder if Ryan’s chances for a presidential pardon just improved or gotten worse?).

The real political trouble for Obama can be read here in a post at “The Smoking Gun” regarding today’s indctment:

” ….Blagojevich, 51, and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested this morning on political corruption charges. While the affidavit does not specifically name the six prospective Senate candidates discussed by Blagojevic, Harris, and the governor’s aides, it appears that several are easily identified. “Senate Candidate 1” is Jarrett. “Senate Candidate 2” is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Emil Jones, an Illinois state legislator, is “Senate Candidate 5.” And “Senate Candidate 6” appears to be J.P. Pritzker, a wealthy Chicago businessman. Additionally, Rahm Emanuel, the incoming White House chief of staff, is referred to in the affidavit as “President-elect Advisor.” (21 pages)”

Aside from Lisa Madigan, Attorney-General of Illinois and daughter of Springfield powerbroker Speaker Michael Madigan, this list is composed of Obama’s Best Friend, Political Godfather, a campaign Mega-Donor and his future White House Chief of Staff. Holy Cats!

I think this is what some folks used to quaintly refer to as “The Sleaze Factor“.

20 thoughts on “Blagojevich, Obama and The Chicago Way”

  1. And Chicago’s sales tax is more than 10%. You guys got a steaming mess on your hands.

    I think Obama might be the Michael Corleone of the Chicago machine. They may have deliberately kept him out of the worst stuff to create a veneer of respectability. Will he step up to his responsibilities if Sonny goes down?

  2. The real political trouble for Obama…

    Nonsense. The media keep assuring us that Obama has nothing to do with any of this. That’s good enough for me!

  3. This just proves how really great The One is. That, Jesus like, he could be with these moneychangers, and still be pure with his message of hope, change and salvation through him.

  4. > What other proof you people need?

    I vote for Olde Skool Tekaniqs.

    I think we should stick his dick in a blender.

    If it comes out unharmed, then it is God’s will.

  5. Can someone tell me, please: have there been other examples of political scandals breaking around the President-Elect before the inauguration? This is an honest to goodness question.

  6. What I hope is that this is actually Fitz’s way of keeping Obama from getting into even worse trouble. What I fear is that Obama’s naïveté will cause him to make (additional) easily-disproven denials, and that well before 1/20/09, we will be asking: what did the President[-elect] know, and when did he know it?

    Anyone who lived through 1973-4 in this country should dread that. The consequences of a scandal of this magnitude, shading into a full-blown Constititional crisis, during an entirely separate “black swan” cascading failure in finance, are just too painful for me to contemplate.

  7. Know what bothers me as a Chicago-is-my-adopted-city-person? That people around here seem so ho-hum about it. I mean, there is embarrasment and anger, but I wonder if even this scandal will change business as usual? My mom is visiting and she says it reminds her of the attitude in parts of India – you just assume officials do the bribe thing and figure it into the cost of business.

    How can we change things around here? Anyone have any links for someone like me to follow up on? At this point, I’m wondering if some out of state entity should go through the government contracts and awards or something!

  8. The linked article predicts nothing remotely related to the events of the past two days, or the reaction to them.

    Thanks for the advertisement … I guess it’s all about the traffic, huh?

  9. When someone gets crucified for something that everyone else does you’ve got to ask yourself ‘what gives’?

    Oh, that’s right he didn’t support the bailout……good to see who’s pulling the strings and who’s the marionette. All we need now is a bit of good ol fashion public outrage….

  10. In the future If Obama is involved it will come out. I think he knows more than said. My thought is on the Pontiac Prison.If or when Rod is convicted or sentenced Pontiac ought to invite Ryan to finish his sentence at Pontiac with a special invitation to Rod to share a cell with him. That way Durbin won’t have to worry about Ryans health. Rod can take care of him.

  11. With a media that was actually interested in reporting as opposed to fawning, this kind of stuff would have come out before the election.

    The Ill. Governor’s antics weren’t a secret.

  12. Hey “Harold P. Butts III.”

    Here’s a quote and link for you, from two dudes who know high level Democratic Party politics don’t see things quite your way:

    “This is a huge distraction at the worst possible moment,” said Lanny Davis, a former White House special counsel who did damage control for President Bill Clinton.

    And it can grow if not handled properly. “It’s like the whirlwind,” said Chris Lehane, another veteran of the Clinton teams. “You get pulled into the vortex more and more.”

  13. “My mom is visiting and she says it reminds her of the attitude in parts of India -“, said MD

    Having grown up on the far south side of the city knowing politically active parents of friends, it struck me then, and it does now, that the “party” is a very serious thing in Cook County. Nowhere else have I experienced the slavish adherence to the “party line”. There are no arguments brooked by precinct captains. Right, wrong, and rationalization don’t enter into it. It always seemed to me to be a taste, a shade, of what life is like in totalitarian countries.

  14. Blagojevich’s actions gave America a bad name and Gov Blagojevich has become liability for the country, American people and the Democratic Party. He owes an apology to the public. We are not a Banana Republic, you can’t just sell Senate seats like it’s an auction or a convenience store…

  15. “you can’t just sell Senate seats like it’s an auction or a convenience store…”

    Yes, to sell something like a Senate seat one has to be more like a circumspect horse trader, I imagine. I may be cynical but my impression is that Bleg was only stupidly coarse in the pursuit of his goodies and perhaps in the coarse nature of the goodies themselves.

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