"Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested, charged"
And in case you weren't totally sure about how corrupt the politics in Illinois are:
"Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, characterized Illinois' place in the pantheon of political corruption."If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor," Grant said. "Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked." "
US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald, the man who brought down this case against "Blago," amongst others including Rezko (if you are not familiar with this name, you haven't been paying attention...), was once defended by President-elect Obama, and rightly so. This man has spend his career fighting the big machines - Republican and Democrat - and finally winning.
He was also behind the recent conviction of our other Governor - George Ryan (oh, what a proud day!). You know -the one Sen. Dick Durbin is now trying to get clemency for. Yeah, now there's a real stand up guy - the Feds actually convict a repulsively guilty man, and now one of our Senators wants to give him clemency.
But mark my words - despite being the successful champion of anti-corruption in Illinois, Mr. Fitzgeralds's days are numbered.
Because with Blago charged and about to sing the sweetest song you've ever heard, Rezko about to be sentenced, and Fitzgerald one step closer to the Daley machine - we are about to see just how far the tentacles of corruption reach.
I'll give you a hint - it's far beyond the city limits of Chicago and the state of Illinois. And I can not imagine that anyone is going to let Fitzgerald get any closer then he already is. In fact, I believe that it is the President who has the say over what happens to Fitzgerald - and Bush almost ousted him once before.
So it leaves me to wonder - will Obama (whose many cronies/links have now been charged/convicted) still be Fitzgerald's ally? Still rally for "change?" Still support the expulsion of corruption in government?
How far will he let Fitzgerald's long arm of the law reach before he chops it off?
(P.S. Fitzgerald is a notorious non-partisan, so he doesn't exclusively go after one party or another. Breaking the law is breaking the law, no matter who does it.)
(And P.P.S. Please don't put words in my mouth here - I am not claiming that Obama had any knowlege of the Pay-for-the-Senate-Seat. There is no evidence of that. Rather, I speak of the deep-rooted corruption rampant throughout all Illinois state and federal level officials. Trust it - there is plenty more to the story then the Senate Seat part of it, though the Seat story is really bad)
Then again, maybe he'll continue to support the takedown of the Bad, in support of the Good.
I mean, not every politician who climbs the ranks of the most corrupt state in the union (30 aldermen and 3 governors convicted of criminal wrongdoing) is bad, right?
So let's see how this plays out.
On one hand I would like to believe that Rezko was the first domino to fall, Blago the next, and so on, until the game is over. I would like to be believe that at some point, you won't be able to "pay to play" here anymore.
But part of me knows better - the part that has been a lifelong Chicago, Illinois citizen knows that certain people will be untouchable, and those that lead the way in fighting the corruption will see an end to their good deeds.
And at the end of the day, it's fucking sad.
Sad for these families (Blago has two small children); sad for the people that want to live in a state that refuses to play by the rules, but intead the rules they make up as they go along; sad for a society that stops asking questions and starts justifying this crap, or has lived with it for so long we just stop fighting.
As for me, I am just glad that for today, we still have some people with integrity fighting the good fight.
(Update: I am watching tv coverage of this circus, and I also find it laughable that every politician in the state is now coming for ward talking about how horrible this is - politicians that have both party and personal ties to the Govenor - fucking ridiculous.)