I don't know if any of you are following all the craziness surrounding Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, but wow, is it fascinating to me. Having grown up in Chicago (Cook County, no less, which has a really bad rep for unethical leaders) I am not unused to political corruption; in fact, it is almost a joke in Chicago, especially when elections come around. Older people will reminisce about the days where it was actually a bit dangerous to go to the voting polls, especially if you were Republican. They had pollsters who were very, shall we say, persuasive.
Still, when I found out that our governor had been arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly trying to sell the Senate seat that Obama has left vacant (and a whole bunch of other offenses, as well), I was flabbergasted for several reasons. First off, obviously this is serious corruption, but what really amazed me was that Blagojevich had made the incriminating phone calls from his HOME phone. Has he never watched a spy movie? Does he not know that if one wants to make criminally incriminating phone calls, one should never use a landline phone, especially not his own line? I mean, really, if he wants to get away with criminal activity, he should really be a lot smarter. Then, on top of all that, everyone here knows that Blagojevich has been under investigation for at least a year or more for some other criminal activity. If I knew they were keeping an eye on him, how did he not know? And why did he not curtail his crime spree a bit at least until things died down?
Sadly, this is the second Illinois governor in a row who will probably serve jail time. Our previous governor, George Ryan was convicted in a big illegal license scheme where unlicensed truck drivers obtained licenses through bribes. One of those unlicensed truck drivers was involved in an accident that killed a family's six chileren. Not only that, but he is the fourth of the last 7 governors who has been arrested. What is happening here?
This quote about sums it up: “Government in Illinois isn’t about political ideology or helping people,” said Christopher Mooney, who teaches political science at the University of Illinois-Springfield. “It’s about which idiot brother-in-law are you going to get a job on a road crew because he helped you get into office.” That is actually really pretty accurate. And sad. Not to mention embarrassing.