Well, the names may change, but the corruption remains the same. God, I miss Illinois (particularly Chicagoland, where we lived for over eight years). It seems like only yesterday that former Illinois Governor George Ryan, Sr., current Governor Rod Blagojevich's predecessor, was convicted on sweeping federal corruption charges of wielding power to help himself and his friends.
And there was good old Blagojevich, with his black (almost) pompadour, boyish demeanor, and goofy grin (Who knew the mouth on him? Oy gevalt!), promising as he took office to do right by the people of Illinois, unlike that corrupt George Ryan, who was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail.
As noted in an article in today's Chicago Tribune:
In his first inaugural address, before a crowd of thousands, Gov. Rod Blagojevich railed against a "system of corruption that has become too commonplace, too accepted and too entrenched."Et tu Blago? Oh, the shame, the shame.
"You voted for change," said Blagojevich, the state's first Democratic governor in 26 years. "I intend to deliver it."
For those keeping score, and politics is a game after all, that is now four Illinois governors who have crossed the line (the previous three, Otto Kerner, Dan Walker, and George Ryan, all did or are doing time -- and let us not forget former Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski), making Illinois, in the words of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, if not "the most corrupt state in the United States... certainly one hell of a competitor."
(Btw, it would not surprise me in the least if we found out Patrick Fitzgerald was a cross dresser or had some other dirty little secret.)
But seriously, folks, does any of this come as a big surprise? Let's get REAL. Every day politicians (Republicans and Democrats) work out deals behind the scenes. Politics is all about "you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back." (Or other parts of the male anatomy, in Republican Senator Larry Craig's case.) It's just a matter of discretion -- and not getting caught. And believe you me, stupidity (and/or audacity) is bipartisan.
Even though until recently it's been Republicans making the scandal sheets, there are plenty of Democrats in the Hall of Shame, most recently Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, who was indicted in 2007 on bribery charges but has yet to go on trial, though he lost his recent re-election bid.
Of course, putting "corruption" and "Louisiana" in the same sentence is kind of redundant. Hey, here's a thought: If political corruption were a Bowl game, it'd be Illinois vs. Louisiana, with only slightly better odds, maybe, on Illinois, just because of their current quarterback, Rod "F@*k 'em" Blagojevich.
So where does the current Blagojevich "situation" now stand? Well, as of this morning, Old Lightning Rod was back at work in the Governor's Office, ignoring pleas to resign, just taking care of business as usual. You can read more in this other piece from today's Chicago Tribune, titled "Barack Obama, U.S. senators, state officials urge Rod Blagojevich to resign."