Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Questions Remain

Even for the most jaded or credulous among us, the news from Illinois over the past few days has been nothing short of stunning, if for no other reason than the breathtaking audacity and scope of the crimes alleged in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich. In attempting to place a bounty on a public office, Blagojevich laid bare the depths of degeneracy that besmear the political culture of my home state.

Blagojevich hardly acted alone. Beyond being enabled by an indolent citizenry whose tolerance for corruption knows no bounds, it is clear that the Governor had friends in high places. We know for certain that Blagojevich had conversations with White House Chief of Staff-designate
Rahm Emanuel about who should fill Barack Obama's Senate seat
, with reports suggesting that those conversations were taped.

What we don't know is the exact nature of any communications between Obama's staff and Blagojevich's office.
It is troubling that Obama has seen fit to delay the release of the full results of the investigation of such communications, thanks to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's dubious "request" that the report be embargoed until next week. Purely by coincidence of course, that week happens to be the slowest week on the news calendar, and also coincides with Obama's holiday in Hawaii (along with the vacations of the better part of the MSM's glitterati.)

In a news conference yesterday, Obama
was quick to pronounce that there had been no "inappropriate" conversations between his people and Blagojevich. But questions remain as to what was discussed between Emanuel and Blagojevich, what quid pro quo was requested or offered in consideration for Obama's Senate seat and what Obama personally knew about any such conversations. For its part, Politico has done a good work in composing several questions for Obama in regards to contacts between Emanuel and Gov. Blagojevich; sadly, we will have to wait until the twelfth day after the Apocalypse before anyone in the media decides to ask a single one of them.

The real question is (or should be) why do Illinoisans blithely accept the meme that - as articulated by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) -
"[i]t makes perfect sense for the president-elect or his people to have some interaction about filling the seat he was vacating."
To be sure, by the letter and spirit of both the Illinois and federal Constitutions, Obama has no more of a reasonable interest in who his successor might be than anyone else. It is the tacit acceptance of this attitude of entitlement on the part of the political class that is the true root of the venality endemic in Illinois politics.

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