Blagojevich and Change

December 10th, 2008

When Rod Blagojevich took office as Illinois’ first Democratic governor in 26 years, in his inaugural address he characterized Illinois government as a “system of corruption that has become too commonplace, too accepted and too entrenched.”  He went on, “You voted for change.  I intend to deliver it.”

I’m sure that most of the good citizens of Illinois applauded politely and muttered under their breath, “Fat chance.”  I doubt that many thought the corruption of Springfield and especially Chicago was going away.

By now, with their governor under arrest on a staggering array of corruption charges, those same good citizens probably envy the people of New York.  Blagojevich’s transgressions make Eliot Spitzer’s dalliances look trivial.

We’ll hear more of this in the near future, so much that we’ll get sick of it.  Remember that the federal prosecutor on this case is Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago and a master of self-promotion.  He famously dragged out the investigation of the Valerie Plame (Wilson) leak for a couple of years, even though he knew at the beginning who the leaker was.  In the end he produced exactly nothing.  Well, almost–he did manage to convict one hapless senior official on an iffy perjury charge associated with the process of the investigation itself. 

What’s going to be most interesting and amusing, perhaps, is the ducking, dodging, and darting of politicians and their defenders as they try to avoid the shrapnel, especially since President-elect Obama is a product of that same Chicago political swamp.  It’s already started, in fact.  Consider:

The Associated Press, which has morphed into an arm of the Democratic Party, published a report today on the Blagojevich arrest that completely failed to identify him as a Democrat.  No analysis of past corruption associated with Democrats, no comparisons of this corrupt Democrat with other corrupt Democrats.  Does anyone doubt that the AP report would be different if Blagojevich were a Republican?

On November 23, according to ABC News, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod said, regarding Blagojevich’s selection of a Senate replacement, “I know (Obama’s) talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them.” 

On December 9, after Blagojevich was arrested, Obama said, “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening.”

Later on December 9, Axelrod rushed out a statement saying, “I was mistaken when I told an interviewer last month that the President-elect has spoken directly to Governor Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy. They did not then or at any time discuss the subject.”  Yeah, right.

Ah, change in the age of Obama!  As the French writer Alphonse Karr said, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”  Nah, I don’t speak French–I cheated.  It means, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

UPDATE:  From a KHQA report on November 5:  Who will fill his Senate seat is “one of Obama’s first priorities today.  He’s meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.”  Can anyone spell “cover-up?”

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