Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where is it worse to fail: The Danger of Blago

For starters, in the above photo, doesn't it look like Blagojevich is about to make the Fist of Metal? He looks like he is 2/3 of the way there.
Eugene Robinson wrote an interesting column in today's Washington Post that pretty much summed up my feelings on this scandal. I use the word feeling, and not thought, intentionally, for my thoughts on the matter really don't have that much to do with the soon-to-be former Governor. Mr. Robinson opens the piece as follows:
Is Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about to be impeached on grounds of
loopiness, obnoxiousness and a bad haircut? Apparently so. In defense of the
Illinois state senators who seem to have already decided the governor's fate,
however, the haircut really does border on the criminal.
But it is unclear
to me what else Blagojevich has done that a duly constituted jury would find
illegal. Even in the matter of his menacing mop, at worst he's a co-conspirator
in a dastardly act committed by his barber.
Unfortunately for the governor,
the Illinois Senate is not bound by the strict rules of evidence and testimony
that constrain a criminal court. And even an observer as biased as I am -- what
columnist wants to see such a colorful and unpredictable figure banished from
the political scene? -- must acknowledge that residents of the
fifth-most-populous state in the union deserve better than to be governed by a
late-night punch line.
Is the Gov a turd? Yes.
Is he scum? Yes.
Do the people of Illinois deserve better? Yes.
Did he commit a crime? The evidence does not appear to show that he has, and to me, that is the point.
The cornerstone of the entire American Experiment is process. The process has not shown that Blago has committed any high crime or misdemeanor. Perhaps he intended to, but as far as I can tell, nobody has come forward and stated that he has. It is a travesty that he is being impeached without such evidence.
If the threshold for executive impeachment is being a scumbag, we would have a system that did little else besides hold such proceedings. Blago is right that it would take away the power of an executive to take on a legislator and in essence, it would turn our political process into a mega version of Italy. If you don't know about the process of Italian government, go visit the good people at Google and read up on it.
For good or poor, the U.S., being as large as it is, errors on the side of stability. In a parliamentary system Bush would have easily been removed with a vote of no confidence. While I spent eight years wishing with my heart that it would happen, my brain told me that the process states he must remain in office unless he was shown to have committed a high crime or misdemeanor...oh wait a minute...


mwknitter said...

I'm not sure where you live but I'd be willing to bet it's not Illinois. Blagojevich is being impeached for many reasons, most of which date back a few years. The scandal about him trying to sell Obama's senate seat was just the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. There had been talk of impeachment before then. Here is a blog entry about some of the reasons for his impeachment: http://www.americantowns.com/il/chicago/news/what-took-blagojevich-democrats-so-long-160476 He clearly has done things that violate state & federal laws & has cost the taxpayers of Illinois millions of $. Like Bush, he seems to think that being elected head of state is the equivalent of being elected king. Blagoyevich ran as a reformer (after George Ryan, our last governor, who is now in jail & the process had been started before he left office although the trial wasn't for a few years). His arrogant looniness became apparent before the end of his first term which might cause you to ask how on earth he got reelected. Well the Republican who ran against him is actually rather well liked & probably would have won (I would have voted for her) had she not chosen as her running mate a State's Attorney from DuPage County who has actively pursued the conviction & death penalty of 2 men who have clearly been ruled out as possible murderers in a horrific case that goes back to 1983. (google Jeanine Nicarico - Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune had a series of excellent articles on the case). It was this case that led George Ryan to suspend executions in the state (for which many still admire him despite his flaws). Personally, I could not bring myself to vote for a man who would knowingly prosecute & ask for the death penalty against 2 men who were clearly innocent (not just that there wasn't enough evidence to convict them - there is substantial evidence that they did NOT commit the murder). The thought of voting for such a man turned my stomach & I think enough people felt the same way that Blagojevich was reelected - not because we wanted to vote for him but because the alternative was unthinkable.

Sal Kilmister said...

MWK: Fair enough. I do not live in Il and I confess that I have not spent a lot of time researching this issue. One can only know so much about so many things. I, like many others not from Il was unaware of much of the background. I thought that a twice elected gov was being done in more on the Obama thing than anything else. Thanks for setting me straight. I was clearly out of my element. I was like a child walking into a conversation....