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What is it about Illinois politicians?

Move over, disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). Stand aside, Sen. Roland Burris (D). And make way for Scott Lee Cohen. The lurid past of the little-known millionaire pawn broker came back to haunt him -- and Illinois voters -- two days after he won the Democratic Party for lieutenant governor.

It was a difficult time in my life. I was going through a divorce, and I fell in with the wrong crowd," Cohen said. "I was in a tumultuous relationship with the woman I was dating. We had a fight, but I never touched her.

Yeah, as train wrecks go, Cohen rivals last week's pile-up with Rielle Hunter, Andrew Young and John Edwards.

And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, Cohen on Sunday withdrew from the race. Not through a written statement or an awkward press conference in a badly lit hotel ballroom or on his front stoop. He opted for an awkward and tearful press conference in a Chicago bar with his crying family by his side.

Unfortunately for the people of Illinois, lately it seems their best politician left the state when he was elected president.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 8, 2010; 5:50 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Wait until the NY story breaks shaking up the Governor's race there. When will the politicians learn?

Posted by: philly3 | February 8, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

If he was the best Illinois politician then Illinois is in trouble indeed.

But everyone already knew that. Finding an honest decent politician in Illinois is like finding a diamond in the bottom of a Port a Potty.

Posted by: krankyman | February 8, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why everyone's so surprised. Illinois is both one of the most politically corrupt and one of the most fiscally mismanaged states in the country. Cohen is just the latest installment.

The choices voters have largely amount to a rearranging of the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic. The thing is, the iceberg's dead ahead.

I say this as a near life-long resident of the Land of Lincoln. We just don't seem to know how to breed competent pols, whether red or blue.

Posted by: MsJS | February 8, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I live in Illinois. You are definitely onto something when you say that the best politician left to become president. But the more important point is that he sucked all the smartest local political minds (like 5 of them) to Washington with him. The idiot rump of the party has been stumbling around for a year now. It is not a pretty sight.

But then, as a Republican, I just have to smile.

Posted by: Clio1 | February 8, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

It is no wonder that Obama got out of there as quickly as he could. Last summer I went on a road trip across the United States, and I discovered that the WORST state in the Union, as far as the condition of the roads was concerned, was Illinois.
Why? Corruption, of course. Why is every other state capable of making their roads manageable? Because the money that goes to those who keep the roads in good shape actually goes to people who will do the job.
Not to say there isn't SOME corruption in the other states, but, my heaven's, THIS was absolutely terrible. I was so relieved to get out of Illinois!
And, one of my first thoughts was, so would Obama be relieved to get out of that utterly corrupt, and STUPID, state.
The people seem utterly unable to elect ANY decent person. I suppose this goes on in every state, but, my goodness, Illinois can't even keep a road in operating condition. Now, how bad is that?

Posted by: cms1 | February 8, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

What is it about Illinois Politicians ?

Most Federal, State, City and County Politicians are Shady, UnPredictable, have Elements and Sexual Scandal-Innuendos-Implications. Whether Men, Women Or Straight Or Gay.

Politicians are Human Beings, Their Strong, Some Weak, Some Greedy For Money, Others with Money, Greedy For Power Or Pleasure in having Power.

It Crosses All Political Parties as well as The So Called Moral Majority [Republicans] Political-Religious Zealots, who Claim [Purity] like...

C-Street Republicans, Ensign, Sandford and Vitter

And Democrats, McGreevey, Elliott Spitzer and Patterson.

The Intentions are Willing, But Their Lust Overwhelms Them.

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 8, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Truth Be Told, Patterson did this to One Up President Obama, because Obama wanted Cuomo as The Democratic Governor of NY and his Poll Numbers were [LOW]

Its a Revolving Door..

Republican Or Democrat, You have the Same Flawed Human Beings Coming and Going.

This will Never Ever Change.

Illinois is No More Corrupt than NY, California, Nevada and Corrupt-Bankrupt [Arizona]

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

omaarsblade ~ don't be silly. Illinois has the most corrupt politicians in America.

Posted by: muawiyah | February 8, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Muawiyah: Stop Listening to Rush Mr.Corrupt Limbaugh Sean Bring Back Ronald Reagan Hannity, Glenn Joseph McCarthy Incarnate Beck or Fox News's Bill Chicken Hawk O'Reily..

All Politics are Corrupt and The Chicago Way is The Political Way, The Way Things Have Always been and Continue to be...

Look at Corrupt [Alaska]

Tell Beck and His Listeners People like [You] To Drop The [The Untouchables DVD]

Reality: Grow Up, Wise Up..Wake Up

Posted by: omaarsblade | February 8, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

So how did they get this guy to bail after he spent $2M of his own money to get the nomination? Maybe the alternative was a long walk on a short pier while wearing concrete shoes?

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 8, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be a reality show about the most crooked states. Lots of potential. I'd still vote for La or NJ, but Illinois has a shot. Don't know enough about the hardcore South. Gotta figure they'd compete. One-party rule is, in general, bad.

Posted by: steveboyington | February 8, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Illinois isn't a one-party state -- most of our recent governors have been Republicans. The last GOP governor was George Ryan and he's now in jail. And on the federal side, Obama's path to the Senate was considerably greased when his Republican opponent withdrew due to a sex scandal and the GOP replaced him on the ballot with Marylander, and lunatic, Alan Keyes. WTF?

Illinois corruption is a decidedly bipartisan affair and let nobody tell you otherwise.

That having been said, as an Illinois Democrat I am absolutely loving the Scott Lee Cohen affair. It's just such a completely bizarre and ridiculous scandal that it really serves the party right. Consider it karmic payback for letting Roland Burris go to Washington.

Posted by: simpleton1 | February 8, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I can't comment on the smarts of the politicians who departed IL for DC a year ago, but I do know that the smartest politician left in IL is Mark Kirk. If the Keystone Cops routine known as the IL Democratic Party continues through the summer, say hello to your next Senator.

Posted by: rkmjrm1 | February 8, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

And, then there is cute little Luis, who is pushing to legalize the illegals, and bring in more and ever more Mexicans when we have high unemployment and underemployment. The others you mentioned are just pathetic. Luis is engaged in treason.

Posted by: rusty3 | February 8, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Some allege the slickest conman of all left Illinois for the White House. The Daley machine politics of Crook County have corrupted the entire state.

There have been few exceptions to this rule. Unfortunately, none in the past decade. Where is Eliot Ness when you need him?

Posted by: alance | February 8, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Illinois is no more corrupt that NY (Patterson) NJ (state legislature and rabbi's) South Carolina (Sanford) North Carolina (Edwards) Nevada, Louisiana and whole host of states where politicians have sordid affairs. Its just since Obama is now in the white house the media been quick to tie Illinois dems to him.

Posted by: Civ4ever | February 9, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

DC and Illinois mirror one another to smothers. Our crop of mayors,mostly have been corrupt,inept,jealous,petty wife-beaters and cheaters raping our taxes for a select few people.
Illinois operates the same way as DC except we accept,excuse,alter our minds to curry to the corruption of government and certainly the private sector.
No end in sight,just look how the WaPo did not have a comments section for deceased ConMan Murtha of Pennsylvania...who dat? why dat? for dat? how dat?

Posted by: foxxmacpryor | February 9, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

As an Illinoisan, I rise to object:

Sanford is still Governor, Ensign is still Senator, Craig left only when his term was finished, Vitter is still there, Hyde's youthful indescretion happened, Burton's son is a full grown man, Chenowyth's marital problems are ancient history, Pappy Bush's pardons saved his behind, Bush Jr. outed a CIA agent, and a know male prostitute visited his White House regularly...

Why would anyone assume that a man who dated a prostitute should not make a good politician?

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 9, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Well, the answer is not hard. They are crooks.

Posted by: gmdim | February 9, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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