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Blagojevich's Defiance Complicates Democratic Strategy

The decision by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to -- in his words -- "fight" charges that he was seeking to sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate badly complicates state and national Democrats' efforts to quickly dispose of the matter and avoid any long term damage to the party's prospects.

"I will fight this thing every step of the way," Blagojevich announced at a raucous press conference this afternoon in Chicago. "I will fight. I will fight. I will fight."

Blagojevich added that he had "done nothing wrong" and said he had no plans to step aside from his post simply due to "false accusations and a political lynch mob."

Blagojevich took no questions but his defense team echoed their boss's insistence that he was innocent, compared him to Harry Truman and urged the press to "give him a second to breathe."

Many Democrats had hoped privately that Blagojevich had (finally) come to the realization that he was in a politically untenable position and the best -- and only -- thing for him to do was step aside.

But, for Blagojevich, his pledge to remain in office is in keeping with an increasing isolation that has taken over his governorship since the investigation into wrongdoing in his office began in 2003. Blagojevich appears to keep his own counsel and hasn't spoken to even his lieutenant governor in nearly 18 months.

The national attention surrounding Blagojevich's expletive-filled conversations -- obtained in a federal wiretap -- in which he appears to be willing to sell the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder has already slowed the momentum of Democrats coming off a sweeping victory in the 2008 elections.

Although Obama has repeatedly sought to distance himself from the investigation, Blagojevich's ties to Illinois politics as well as conversations between a senior aide to the governor and incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel have complicated these efforts.

Public polling suggests that average Americans do not suspect Obama of any wrong doing nor has the controversy swirling around Blagojevich affected the stratospheric approval ratings for the president-elect. But, it has forced he and his political team off message with less than a month before Obama is sworn in as the 44th president.

Blagojevich's pledge to remain in office means that impeachment proceedings against him -- begun earlier this week by the Illinois legislature -- will proceed. It also means that the story will remain national news for the foreseeable future as the storyline is almost too good to be believed.

Expect Republicans to continue to keep up the public pressure for a special election to replace Obama -- using Blagojevich's strident statement of innocence as evidence that the process of impeaching him is sure to drag out and, therefore, any appointment will be tainted.

"The governor should have absolutely nothing to do with the Senate appointment," said Lance Trover, a spokesman for the Illinois Republican Party, on a conference call today. "But here we are ten days later. The impeachment process has begun, but it seems to be dragging on as something that could take weeks, if not, months."

The political strategy on this one is simple: the longer Blagojevich stays in the national spotlight, the worse for Democrats. Even once this boil (so to speak) is lanced, Democrats will still need to deal with the scar from it. But, as long as Blagojevich stays in office, the longer that recovery period is postponed.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 19, 2008; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Governors , White House  
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Next: Blagojevich: Animated






What is so complicated about realizing how corrupt the democratic party is ???

All these latte liberals are out there, choosing to ignore the facts or dreaming that somehow the government is going to save the world.




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Stick to the topics - AND please stop attacking other posters.

You have become some whiny liberal.

All you do is complain about other people's point of view. READ the First Amendment and get back to us, OK?




Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 22, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

More important than any questions about the Blags matter or even World Peace, is why the robo-troll currently posting as "Yes37thandORulesForever" has changed his/her handle yet again? By my count, this is his/her 16th troll handle change. Previous troll handles include: 37thandORulesForever, 37thandORules, 37thandOStreet, 37thandO, DorchesterandCongress, and, for a couple of days, some goofy handle that had "army" in it. Before any more posts, 37, would you, as McEnroe might say, ANSWER THE QUESTION. Please.

37, as has been posted by legions over the past weeks: O was specifically requested not to release the results of his internal investigation of O-Nation contacts with Blags. O is acceding to the prosecutor's request (that's okay isn't it?). As you know, the prosecutor exonerated O right after he arrested Blags. Also, published reports says Rahm is not a person interest. Case least for the unprejudiced and the rational.

37, aren't there any Herr Hannity or Hal Turner blogs just itching to receive your quadruple spaced wisdom. Just wondering.

Also Blags is innocent until proved guilty. So far, Blags is only guilty of a potty mouth and a horrible "hair system."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 21, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse





Politico is reporting "Obama to absolve Emanuel in gov. scandal"









Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 21, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse





Why is Obama taking 2 weeks to release all the information about BLAGO ???

AND why is the transition team invesigating itself?

This is beginning to sound like NIXON'S 3RD TERM.





Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 21, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse







One has to be honest about what the Democratic party really is: it is a bunch of corrupt politicians who hide behind FDR's creation brand name which says "they want to help the poor."

This is a bad joke.

The truth is: every election cycle in October the democrats go to the poor neighbhorhoods and ask for votes - however throughout the year the democrats are nowhere to be found - they are off with their corrupt deals and creating one fraud after another.

Take a look at the Clinton administration and the YEARS the democrats have been in control of Congress (the 70s, 80s and now) Has there been ANY ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS OR LEGISLATION ADVANCED???

We have nothing - yet the ENTIRE COUNTRY clings to the brand name of the democrats created in the 1930s.

Most of what you believe is the Great Society was enacted during the Nixon administration.

Chris - you can go state to state and find TOTALLY CORRUPT DEMOCRATS -
start in Massachusetts where there is a scandal involving contractors and friends and jobs to Rhode Island - to Connectict -

to Spitzer in New York -


to Atlantic City revolving democratic corruption to Philly -

to BLAGO AND REZKO in Chicago -

to who-knows-what-the-media-has-been-ignoring

Blago, a democrat, is not on Chicago's South Side, helping the people, doing what you think democrats should be doing.







Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | December 21, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again! Another example of stupid journalism! The question is this! Why was a federal corruption investigation ended! Why was it made known! Why was everyone warned of it. I can't believe everyone is falling for this. All the justice department did was warn the political establishment of its investigation and weaken its case. This thing stinks to high heaven. The justice department is guilty of the worst crime of all and it was under no obligation to prematurely announce any intellegence on the matter. So please stop helping them. What happened to the smart people in journalism. Where did all the investigative journalist go. It has become so easy to play the media. It wasn't so long ago that all you talked about was NAFTA but the real play was China.

Posted by: wesdane | December 20, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama was elected; one does not have to pay the governor to get elected.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 20, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"He**, I'm still waiting to find out what Barack Obama paid for that Senate seat back in 2004, since Blago thinks "Candidate No 5's" offer of $1 million was a good offer in 2008.
[Incoherent junk in the middle omitted]

Posted by: armpeg | December 20, 2008 5:54 AM"

You can have your answer now, senator. Nothing.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 20, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post and a couple commentors claiming to feel Illinois' shame, are delusional. The Democratic Chicago machine mints people like Blago, the amateur boxer, Rohm the amateur ballet dancer and Barry the mysterious amateur basketball player on a regular basis. They are not players in Chicago at all. The Machine runs them, and Blago only got in trouble (after numerous elections to Congress and Governor) when excerpts from his taping embarrassed everyone. A lot of illusions are going to be ruined as actual tapes and his statements unfold, and the audacity of Obama and Emanuel may be seriously questioned. One of the more poignant moments was Emanuel's claim of receiving death threats. How much more victim-hood could we imagine! I suppose more, when there was no later verification.
The Blago episode to date proves how effective Obama and the mainstream media are at managing perceptions. Lenin would be proud, Lincoln spins in his grave. The last two weeks truly eclipsed the PC "lynching" of the Duke Lacrosse athletes who were "tried, convicted and sentenced" for raping a black woman in one weekend by the mainstream press and their University.
The same lust of perception mixed with amnesia over facts marks the Balgo affair. Blago is at worst only one side of the alleged transactions, or at best ensnared by the world record campaign fund raising team of all time- Obama, Inc. It will be interesting to see how Blago lawyers shape the case.
Of course, no one is calling for elimination of pay for play (just a new Payee or two) or this year’s pay raises for Barry and Rohm and their associates in Congress.

Posted by: Donschott | December 20, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

He**, I'm still waiting to find out what Barack Obama paid for that Senate seat back in 2004, since Blago thinks "Candidate No 5's" offer of $1 million was a good offer in 2008. Don't forget, Blago was elected gov. in 2001 and sworn in in 2002, so he was the go-to guy to get the job back then. If it's worth $1 million today, it must have been worth about that back then too.

Posted by: armpeg | December 20, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

"It's obvious the Blago sees a whole in Fitzgerald's case."

I think you're giving him far too much credit. If the tapes are anything to go by, the guy is delusional.

Regardless of the legal semantics in court, his governorship is toast; he'll be impeached.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 19, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious the Blago sees a whole in Fitzgerald's case. He might be right: Even some legit legal experts are wondering about the legality of the wiretaps and the actual reasoning behind the potential charges against Blago.

As for Obama and the Dems, they are totally screwed on this. They're awfully lucky to have a catastrophic economic collapse to keep prying eyes away from Illinois...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 19, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

The dregs of the political universe, once caught red-handed, always fight to the bitter end. They have nowhere else to go.

It's amazing that this man become governor of the state which includes the city of Chicago, with no livelihood to fall back on.

I wish him the worst.

Posted by: officermancuso | December 19, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I pray that Governor Blagojevich will grant the clemency petition of Paul Modrowski, the young man who is actually innocent and was wrongly convicted.

Paul was convicted of murder at the age of 18 in 1993, on an accountability theory -- for supposedly lending his car to a friend who supposedly went and killed a third young man they both knew. The supposed "killer" was acquitted.

Paul was never at the scene of the crime, and there is no evidence that he lent his car. The FBI thoroughly searched his car, and it turned up not a trace of evidence.

Paul has been in prison for over 15 years, on what truly was a witchhunt. Because this murder occurred close in time and place to the Brown's massacre, the police believed the two were related. Paul is autistic and he probably seemed a little cold or "off" to them. The police held him for days without an attorney, kicked him, kept his parents wondering where he was, etc.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION ASKING GOVERNOR BLAGOJEVICH TO GRANT PAUL'S CLEMENCY PETITION-- which Paul wrote himself. It is free to sign, takes a just a minute, and you won't be spammed:

Posted by: vinmargaux | December 19, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

All this is entertaining background noise, but nothing more. This will play out predictably:

In the end, Blags will step down (he is only holding on because he wants to use his governorship as a bargaining chip with the prosecution, presumably). A Dem supportive of O will replace Blags, whether through a special election or appointment by the Lt. Gov.

Outside of the Beltway, no one cares about this; they are focused on mortgages, gas prices, job, health insurance, and loved ones deployed abroad. O hasn't been forced off-message by the junk; the MEDIA has forced him off message by pretending that he is implicated in this mess even though the prosecutor has announced he is not. HuffPo had/has an excellent article about the dishonest media coverage of Blags insofar as they try to tie O and Rahm to the Blags controversy.
* * * *
Winners this week:
Madoff the Great (sitting there with $50 billion of Ponzi-schemed money (allegedly) and now just lounging at home watching cable TV)
The guys around Times Square who sell fake Rolexes or play three card monty (think of them as Madoffs in training)
Al Franken (looks like he will have the last laugh; any chance Shecky Greene might go for Hillary's seat?)
Charles Krauthammer (bitter as always but wrote a great complimentary piece on O followed up by a critical but honest column on why Carolyn's appointment to Hillary's senate seat would violate democratic principles; Chuck convinced me)
Rick Warren (that this character will be on O's inauguration podium is beyond me but give him credit; could Larry the Cable Guy be far behind?)
Jay Carney (giving O Man of the Year props and then going to work for O; welcome to O-Nation, Jay)
Dean Smith

O (what were you thinking by inviting Warren to speak -- again, hysterian D.K. Goodwin's book (Team of Rivals) was a mythology (it should have a label -- "for entertainment purposes only"); even elementary school kids don't cite DKG in their homework, come on; O will recover -- even Jordan went 4 for 16 now and then)
Kathleen Parker (when you write a foolish Gone with the Wind-sounding ode to your black nanny to explain how you were touched by O's election, you are a PERMANENT loser every week and, as Rev. Wright would say, "nullified")
Juan Williams (nuff said)
Madoff the Great's investors
Will Smith (for wasting my $4.99 on some on-demand junk called "I am Legend" -- it was gross and stupid)
The fool at the O press conference who kept badgering O about Blags
Phalin, er, I mean "unknown Alaska government officials" who carpet emailed the State with racist anti-O junk; you just know famed journalist Charley ("S-mbogate") James will be all over this story)
Jeremiah Wright (O won so, in the end, maybe the Reverend did make it Wright)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 19, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Just a clarification regarding the press conference that was held by 2 of Gov. Blagojevich's attorneys: 1st.: Ed Genson was not at the press conference to speak today...instead the Governors initial attorney Sheldon Sorosky who was retained on Dec. 9, 2008 was present as well as Sam Adam, an attorney in Ed Genson's office. 2nd.: it was Sheldon Sorosky who made the reference to Harry Truman. 3rd: As to your statement "raucous press conference this afternoon in Chicago", I heard nothing like that from the audience during the Governor's speech....I did hear a great deal of frustration from the reporters during the Q & A time following the Governor's speech when asking questions of Mr. Adam and Mr. Sorosky. What I did see was a hesitant, often quavering voice, a well bitten bottom lip and a man who knew very well the weight that his title of Governor of Illinois holds as to being a bargaining chip should it come to that during the criminal hearing.

I live in Illinois and have spoken the past year with over 50 legislators regarding mismanagement of finances, as well as concern that the Governor perceives himself above the law and as such can say and do anything regarding contracts being "awarded" and with regards to how he interacts with the Senate and the House.

Most Illinois citizens and legislators have repeatedly called for the Governor to at least step aside, thereby retaining his title and his salary while he appoints per the Illinois Constitution the Lt. Gov. as "acting Governor" until which time Gov. Blagojevich is able to resume his this time, the Governors credibility is under attack by both Democrats and Republicans alike...for the sake of the wellbeing of the State of Illinois, the Governor should step aside until his legal matters have been resolved...because yes, Governor, you are hurting the citizens of Illinois and your time is now to do the trustworthy and respectibly and honorable thing to do. Yes, you are innocent until proven guilty, but I am not talking about you acknowledging one way or the other whether you did anything illegal, you Governor, have shown by even having voiced the words on tape that you hold nothing but contempt for the citizens of Illinois.

From, a person who holds her head in shame for the comments even voiced by the honorable and just person wouldn't even "joke" about such things and shame on your attorney Ed Genson for saying this legal matter was "fun".

Posted by: tchgal1 | December 19, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse


Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."

The narcissist is described as turning inward for gratification rather than depending on others and as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power and prestige. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness.

Posted by: AsperGirl | December 19, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: htruman | December 19, 2008 4:35 PM

"Go back to genocidal Bosnia you crook and get the heck out of office"

htruman, what do you mean by your comment if we may know?

Posted by: BOBSTERII | December 19, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, if a trial were held based on the evidence which has been made public to date, this case would be thrown out before it ever reached a jury. What is missing from this is any individual who was approached by Gov. Blagojevich and asked to provide a quid pro quo in return for the Senate seat. It is quite a stretch to take Blagojevich's ranting to his aides as some kind of evidence of conspiracy. Personally I have seen absolutely nothing to indicate that Gov Blagojevich crossed the line which separates political horse-trading (which happens CONSTANTLY on a daily basis) from criminal conduct.

Posted by: jerkhoff | December 19, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd suggest that Blago see reason, but if those tapes showed anything, it's that his view of reality is pretty unhinged.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 19, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Has it also "forced he . . . off message" about education reform.

Posted by: tdb001 | December 19, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

He's just a typical Lib. Deny, obfuscate, stall, stonewall, use the press, lie, arrogance,you know pull a clinton.

Maybe there are seven stages of corrupt liberalism. Obama is in stage one, Reid is in stage 4, Pelosi stage 2, Rangel stage 5, blago stage 6. Jefferson starts over at one. dodd, Frank, clinton?

Obama learned from the best it seems.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Lance a boil"?
That was a cheap-shot "Meet the Press" soundbite.

Posted by: lockmallup | December 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Blagojevich took no questions but his defense team -- led by Ed Genson -- echoed their boss's insistence that he was innocent, compared him to Harry Truman and urged the press to "give him a second to breathe."

Why is it that every time a politician (a) sucks (like GWB), or (b) is in deep doo doo they invariably compare themselves to HST? Are you having a little lull before a dashing comeback Mr. Blagojevich? Yyyyuuucccckkkkk! Go back to genocidal Bosnia you crook and get the heck out of office. Political team preferance goes out the window when one confronted with unethical cheaters such as this goon.

Posted by: htruman | December 19, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Coming soon, to an Inauguration near you: "Blagenstein, the monster that would not die!"

Posted by: dbitt | December 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Another story that is "almost too good to be believed" -- the arrest on felony drug charges of Sherry Johnston, who is about to be the grandmother of Bristol Palin's baby -- and thus co-grandmother with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Just two months ago, big crowds were cheering Palin as the savior of conservatism, and even Chris Cillizza has written that she's a likable and effective political figure. What does this story say about Palin's credibility as a purveyor of good old fashioned values? What does it say about her future, and the future of the Republican party? Little or nothing, you say? Hmmmm . . . . . I disagree!

Posted by: SeattleVoter | December 19, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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