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Thoughts on This Blagojevich Business

I know I’m supposed to be outraged about how Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (allegedly) hung a "For Sale" sign on his integrity. But let’s admit it: The Obama administration has been so controversy free, it’s nice to have a little political drama.

But I wonder why he didn't just follow Sarah Palin's example and put the Senate seat up for auction on eBay.

***

Who says newspapers aren’t relevant? The Chicago Tribune reports: "Blagojevich… conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of Blagojevich in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co."

In the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” department, the Tribune also reports that Gov. Blagojevich recently said: "I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me. I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me.”

***

I e-mailed my friend Andrew Carlin, a Chicago resident, to get his thoughts:

Me: “Did you bribe Gov. Blagojevich to get Obama's Senate seat?”

Andrew: “Darn... If he hadn't been arrested he'd be announcing 'Senator Carlin' this morning. Has a nice ring to it, no?… "

Andrew adds: “Hollywood might reject the script, but this has "Law & Order" written all over it. In fact, I know the twist ending: Blagojevich goes down, but we learn that his do-gooder Lt. Gov., Pat Quinn, engineered the whole thing, but they can't prosecute because all the evidence is circumstantial. Where does this merry-go-round of corruption end? Answer: It doesn't. It's gold!”

By Steven Stein  | December 9, 2008; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Stein  | Tags:  Steven Stein  
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Comments

I continue to be mystified at the Post's rationale for giving Mr. Stein a platform as he never has anything remotely insightful to contribute to any public debate.

Posted by: uh_huhh | December 9, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

To respectfully disagree, we didn't need this little drama. We have plenty of large-scale sturm und drang between an incipient depression and two wars where, still, persistently, Americans appear to only count Americans as "casualties."

One would think that sheer awe for the mountain of trouble overshadowing the start of the Obama administration would have prevented little Blag'ch (and/or whoever is guilty here) from mucking it up with his petty greed.

Treating it as comic relief is letting the perps off the hook. Let's begin the new era of accountability right here.

Posted by: martimr1 | December 9, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Who is this joker? What value did he just add to the Washington Post?

Posted by: AMD2 | December 9, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

and why is this an Obama administratior problem? He hasn't even been sworn in yet! I agree with the other reader who said we don't need additional drama anyways, however, it is always good to see the justice system grab some high-ups. Metropolis & Gotham City both lost Governors to scandals, just goes to show how much change we actually need.

Posted by: reverseswing | December 9, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

When Rod Blagojevich gets out of the calaboose, he should move to Nicaragua and raise bananas.

Posted by: cwh2 | December 9, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I am very pleased and surprised that Barak Obama seems to be moving to the middle. That said I hope Rezko doesn't rain on his parade. His name is mentioned as a contributor to the facts AGAINST the governor. The U.S. Attorney knows all about this material which is common knowledge in Chicago so I guess there is nothing on the face of it. But Rezko wants a sentencing deal.

The convicted slumlord corruptor Tony Rezko was very helpful to Obama and vice-versa. Obama wrote letters supporting Rezko's later failed housing projects 11 in Obama's own district where the rats and the lack of heat made them untenantable, is promently mentioned as a witness of sorts in the case against the governor. Obama said he was "boneheaded" for having dealt with Rezko. Obama wanted to buy a mansion that the owner insisted had to be sold jointly with the empty lot adjacent. Obama asked Rezko to take a look and Rezko decided he wanted to buy the lot for full price under his wife's name. That allowed Obama to purchase the mansion alone for a 300K discount. Obama did not want the lot but he wanted 10 feet added to his property so he bought that piece of Rezko's 60 foot lot and Rezko built a 14 thousand dollar iron fence separating his now unbuildable lot from Obama's enhanced property. Rezko sold what was left of the lot to an associate for less than he paid but he claims that the money he received from Obama for the ten feet was documented by an appraiser. Wow!
Good deal for Obama. Was it quid pro quo? The U.S. Attorney apparently didn't think so at the time.
Rezko is coming up for sentencing and will be providing information on the governor's case and maybe even testify. Interesting isn't it?

Posted by: mharwick | December 9, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid thing to write.

Posted by: Waspman | December 9, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I liked it, especially the part where Blagojevich is "walkin' on sunshine, wooah!"
And don't it feel good.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 9, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

While "a little political drama" as you call it may provide job security for political reporters, the rest of us can do without it. Here's what's likely going to happen now:

1. Blagojevich's children are going to have to live the rest of their lives ashamed of someone who was probably larger than life last week. They will soon be visiting him in prison.

2. All but the most routine Illinois state business will be put on hold causing G-d knows what problems for the people of that state. Blagojevich was supposed to be the honest politician elected to clean up the mess his predecessor (currently residing in a federal prison) left.

3. Illinois won't have a real senator for the next two years. No politician but the most mediocre opportunist is going to touch that senate seat with a 10 foot pole for fear of having the bribery accusations stick to him.

As for Barack Obama, he doesn't need to say a single word about this sordid mess and he shouldn't. Everything I need to know about Obama's role in the scandal, I learned from Blagojevich's own words in that obscenity filled rant about Obama's refusal to pay him off.

Posted by: dan_schein | December 9, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

A "little drama" coming to D.C.? Ha, how about some good ol fashion south side Chicago political sleaze, yeah, Barry O knows how to do it!

Posted by: Phil6 | December 9, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on Liar Elect 44 Barack Obama is in
this thing clear up to his eyeballs right along with Gov Rod Blagojevich and will end
up being frog marched off in handcuffs and
legirons very soon. So, if you still think
Liar Elect 44 Barack Hussein Obama is not
a lying Chicago con artist then I have this
nice bridge I own in Brooklyn that I will be glad to sell you real real cheap....

The truth is Barack Hussein Obama belongs
in the same jailcell as Rod Blagojevich.

Posted by: sherrykay08 | December 10, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

How dare this fool to mention Sarah Palin in the same article about a corrupt governor! Funny, he is NOT! The corruptness of Chicago politics goes back a long ways. I experienced it while living there in 1958-59 while the first Daley was mayor. That a president elect should come from this mess is a ssd thing. It certainly does not bode well for our country. Too bad the MSM did not vet BO when they had the chance. Maybe this governor boy will sing!

Posted by: annnort | December 10, 2008 5:50 AM | Report abuse

WP:

Please remove the post by sandy5274. It is offensive, off subject, and borders on threatening. It should be reported to the Secret Service.

Posted by: Bill481 | December 10, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Hold him to the letter of the law.
Toss his 'lil self in the slammer and keep him there until he's eating pablum for dinner 'cause his teeth fell out.
Do the same for anyone who had a part in this bit of 'garbage politics'.

Posted by: realneil | December 10, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Dan,

Illinois state business has already been on hold for most of G-Rod's term in office (see: five years and counting without a capital bill, education reform). The faster he's impeached or presuaded to resign, the better off we are.

And hopefully the special election bill will pass ASAP; I'm trying not to think too hard about how it gets signed into law.

Posted by: lane_change | December 10, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Really? These are your thoughts?
Sounds like a FaceBook blog instead of insightful journalism.

C'mon ... can't you do better than this? I'm embarrassed I spent time reading this article.

Posted by: playfair109 | December 10, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So,let's be honest here shall and ask who in their right mind would ever trust Gov
Rod Blagojevich,or Liar Elect Barack Obama
or Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr or any member of this crooked corrupt phony "The
Office of the President Elect" Staff or any
Obama Cabinet nominee after this deal has
came out in the open? Obama and Jackson Jr
and Blagojevich all must Go Period! They
All Belong In Jail NoT Public Office.

Posted by: Kim1985 | December 10, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Who is this clown Stein?

Posted by: hlw2003 | December 10, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

This article starts off with something about "drama" in the not-yet-here Obama administration, then continues with a gratuitous slap at Sarah Palin. Finally there's a feeble attempt at humor. Whatever Stein's been smoking lately, he'd better quit if he wants to save what's left of his brain cells.

Posted by: rmpatera | December 10, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I know you are not outraged. The 527 media reserves outrage for Republican corruption. When Democrat corruption is exposed, they drop the "D", circle the wagons and tell us that it is really no big deal. And you know what? They get away with it. No, I will not be sorry when the mainstream media self destructs.

Posted by: VastRightWingConspirator | December 11, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

sherrykay08 - up to his neck in this? It seem s to me that there will be so many people for the next 4 - 8 year OBSESSED with Obama. What he's hiding, what he might be doing, who is he REALLY....blah, blah, blah, blah.....sadly for you, your still going to watch the guy get sworn in on Jan 20th, no matter what. There is one thing that separates the crazies from the rest of us. The crazies do not need any proof or direct evidence what so ever. Lets repeat the word shall we? P.R.O.O.F - you know what that means? It means outside of running your crazy mouths, sounding like Mel Gibson out of Conspiracy Theory, anything you say is just HOT AIR.

Posted by: gabrielwittgenstein | December 11, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This Governor sounds like the friend you have who tells you he can get you a rental in Miami for half the cost. And he can get you those new sneakers for free. And he can even get you a job with his friend who works with another friend.

But when you ask him to clarify, you realize that he's just blowing smoke out his arse.

Posted by: mattdevir | December 11, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Kim1985 - What would you charge Obama with? Mr. Obama, you are charge with coming from the state of a criminal and or crazy governor.

Yes, that should carry a life sentence.

I like how everyone acts like pay-to-play is some underground act. This guy just cut through the BS and talked in a frank way. He asked: what's in it for me?

Posted by: mattdevir | December 11, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

This Illinois corruption can bring out the partisan wolf pack - they smell blood. .........


http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/12/11/obamas-chicago-vulnerability/

Posted by: glclark4750 | December 11, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

If Obama didn't know what was going on with Blago and Rezko he was incompetent.

If he did, he was corrupt.

Posted by: NoDonkey | December 11, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

www.need4trth.blogspot.com

As much as I love Chris Matthews/Hardball and think that he is ethically correct and an obvious erudite, when he priveledges lies by making statements like, "...Fitzgerald says, no complaints have been made against Obama..TODAY..", I almost lose total respect for him. Why ad the "...TODAY...", word as a the proverbial "Yet"? Why ask this question, "What conversation did Barack have with Blogojevich?" and "Will this distract Obama from working on the economic problems?". These question are literal republican talking points and false suggestions. Suggestion is a powerful thing. I won't even discuss the insidious blatant intentions of the obvious racist Sean Hannity. He just can't deal with an African American President. With Sean anything is fair play. He has no journalistic class nor integrity. Chris Todd as is his custom offers republican defenses and talking points and suggestions at a regular interval. What more can be said about him.

Sometimes I honsetly think that some of these press members are just thoughtless in their commentary. Other times, depending on what station I'm viewing, I just think they are doing the Corporation which they represents, bidding. Just as FOX NEWS instructs their journalist every morning with Republican talking points and a Memo on what the focus of the day is. Sean Hannity, of course, doesn't need talking points. He uses, his personal opinion and emotions and hatred to do FOX's bidding

Posted by: need4trth | December 11, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Uncle! These pathetic references to "the children" are making me (expletive) puke, again.... As stated in a recent post to the article about Blago's steadfast wife, those kids are likely to follow in mommy and daddy's (expletive) footsteps much to the detriment of the public good. Let's hope they choose careers in the private sector rather than public sector so as to minimize future damage to our state. As for Blago, I'm glad to see him in a (expletive) fix...he's got no business shutting state parks, floating shameful proposals like trying to tax the *gross* receipts of the farming community and on and on. What an (expletive) this guy is. Good riddance.

Posted by: theresathefarmer | December 11, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's the pitch: First African American President promises open, transparent government. In actuality, it's more like "The Sopranos."

Title: "Chicagoland"

Mrs. Blago: Angelina Jolie

Gov. Blago: Steve Carrel

Obama: Chris Rock

Michelle Obama: Halle Berry

As herself: Oprah Winfrey

Jessie Jackson Junior: Chris Rock (plays two parts)

Rahm Emanuel: Josh Brolin

Evil Dr. Chu: Bobby Lee (Mad TV)

Car Czar Volker: Frank Langella

As himself: Barney Frank

Music: Barbra Streisand

Director: Oliver Stone

I see Oscar written all over it!

Posted by: kenpasadena | December 11, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's the pitch: First African American President promises open, transparent government. In actuality, it's more like "The Sopranos."

Title: "Chicagoland"

Mrs. Blago: Angelina Jolie

Gov. Blago: Steve Carrel

Obama: Chris Rock

Michelle Obama: Halle Berry

As herself: Oprah Winfrey

Jessie Jackson Junior: Chris Rock (plays two parts)

Rahm Emanuel: Josh Brolin

Evil Dr. Chu: Bobby Lee (Mad TV)

Car Czar Volker: Frank Langella

As himself: Barney Frank

Music: Barbra Streisand

Director: Oliver Stone

I see Oscar written all over it!

Posted by: kenpasadena | December 11, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

dang, like something Trig would write. If you review the 28 opinion writers... you notice a quick pattern, 2 black guy's, 1 goy, and all the rest Hebrewites. Must be not only the chosen people, but the wittiest and most enjoyable. Anyway... with the papers going down the tubes I guess we are voting with our eyeballs... and they (WaPo) will allow for some diversity of opinion.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 12, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh My,my so I see all the crazied kool aid drinking Obamabot Cult Members and Obama Office of the President Elect and DNC fools
are out in force,busy shouting Seig Heil!
Heil Hitler! Heil Obama! As they launch their vile vicious totally hateful attacks
on anyone who dares to question Der Furher
oops The Leader Dictator Barack Hussein Obama the New American Dictator from Kenya
or Charge Obama with Treason as well!

Posted by: Amy2009 | December 12, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Blago's Secret Weapon--

The Governor has now chosen to seek the advice of a high-profile criminal defense attorney. What exactly is the strategy from here? If this was a top-secret assignment, it might go something like this.

Start with the indictment: A great deal of the evidence depends on witnesses from a trial of a convicted felon and from witnesses who they themselves were caught up in the previous trial and convicted of various offenses. This was the basis for the wiretap request, the affadavit.

Next, it moves to the Tribune Company, on the verge of bankruptcy, desperate for money; starts a campaign to trash the Governor in order to blackmail him into raiding the state Treasury for money to pay off the editorial extortionists. Notice that nowhere in the indictment is there mention of the Tribune editorial board's phones being tapped. When the Governor demands their resignation in return for Wrigley Field financing, that becomes more evidence for the indictment.

Thirdly, it's the Senate seat itself. How many of those prestigious characters are willing to be subpoened to testify in the trial and have their own motives and careers placed in jeopardy?

Lastly, what about an actual trial? It might take months to seat a jury, much less have a change of vemue out of the state completely, perhaps to Hawaii, someplace warm and sunny where evrybody could cheerfully decide Blago's fate.

That's the defenss strategy, like it or not.

Blago's Secret Weapon--

http://www.geocities.com/hollywoodredline/orangeline.html

Posted by: reconpresseusa | December 14, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse


Please help me I'm dumb. What is the difference between him bargaining for the Senate seat and Hillary bargaining to pay off her personal debt. Hot Rod may have some indirect benefit, Hillary personal benefit is obvious. But no one seems upset by that. Why??

Posted by: jodaki | December 14, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I dont know,is it really any worse than this?;Less than ten days after he became Vice President--promising that a Bush/Cheney Administration would "restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office"--Cheney took charge of the Administration's energy policy task force, the National Energy Policy Development Group. No initiative interested Enron more, and Cheney welcomed the company's active participation in its deliberations. Cheney was hardly a stranger to the company. He had chaired Halliburton, a Texas-based oil services and construction conglomerate whose subsidiary, Brown & Root, helped build Houston's Enron Field, and his return to politics--after he selected himself to be Bush's running mate--benefited from Enron-linked contributions that paid for the Bush/Cheney campaign, the Florida recount fight fund and the inauguration. Cheney and his aides met at least six times with Lay and other Enron officials while preparing the group's report, which is the basis for the Administration's energy policy proposals. Additionally, Cheney's staff met with an Enron-sponsored lobbying organization, the "Clean Power Group."

After being lied into a war where these criminals profited?torture?wiretapping?katrina?And what do you think happened in cheneys secret energy meeting?Tea and crumpets perhaps?

Posted by: truthynesslover | December 15, 2008 3:41 AM | Report abuse

The facts remain that the voters got conned
into electing a totally corrupt,lying second crackhead President of the United States,by the name of Barack Hussein Obama
and the only "Change We Can Believe In"
will be change of your money into Obama's
pockets and nothing else will change! And
the only place Barack Hussein Obama belongs
is behind bars in a jailcell not the White
House,whether all you Obama Cult Members
like it or not. Obama is as dirty and as
corrupt as Blagojevich.

Posted by: Amy2009 | December 15, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Here is one Independent Voter who will not
be watching the Crackhead # 2 fake Messiah
Barack Hussein Obama and Draft Dodger # 2
Joe the big mouth Biden sworn in on Jan 20
2009 and frankly Obama will never be My
President as I will not accept a damn lying
drug addict,Chicago con artist,corrupt two
bit punk sleazy politician like Obama as
my President! So go ahead and scream like
banshees and call me a racist you Obama
Cult Member Losers. Impeach Obama!

Posted by: Darlene5280 | December 16, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Yikes! So just wait until both convicted
Chicago Slumlord Obama Pal,and Democrat Gov
Rod Blagjevich starting singing like cute
little songbirds about all the dirty deals
and corruption that the new Crackhead #2
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama,the Chicago
Con Artist is deeply envolved in there in
Chicago and it ends Der Leader Barack Hussein Obama up behind bars as well.

So,all you kool aid drinker Obama Cult Members then how will you excuse or dream
up phony alibis for that Chicago Thug
Barack Hussein Obama and his corrupt acts?

Posted by: sandy5274 | December 16, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh well it may get very interesting when
Democrat Gov Rod Blagojevich starts to spill the beans about all the dirt and all
the corruption he knows about Democrats
Loser Elect 44 Barack Hussein Obama and that sleazy stoolie Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr as well. Since Obama and little
Jackson are as sleazy and stink of Chicago
Corruption and Crooked Deals from day one.

I bet Barack Hussein Obama will end up being Impeached himself or be Indicted for
his own corruption long before his first
time as (gag!) President of the US.

Posted by: Marilyn80 | December 16, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what to think about Stein's ... well, that's the point. It's too short and superficial to be a column. Too loose and free with rules of journalism (and the Post) to be a news story. And falls backwards in attempting to be anything compelling.

In the days of Draconian cuts in news staff, and superficiality in print or broadcast journalism -- just WHAT IS the point of Stein's "Thoughts Of This Blagojevich Business?"

With news standards like this, no wonder politicians routinely get away with deceit and fraud.

Posted by: mdillin | December 16, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Saying you're willing to take a bribe is not a crime - taking a bribe is. Offering a bribe whether or not it was accepted is a crime. Let's see if Blago even gets convicted first. Anyone who offered him a bribe on tape or that he "rats out" is going to be charged.

Posted by: star_key2 | December 16, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

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