Friday, December 12, 2008

An Object Lesson in Political Corruption

I found this little gem on page 72 of the criminal complaint against Blago:
Later on November 12, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH talked with JOHN HARRIS. ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that his decision about the open Senate seat will be based on three criteria in the following order of importance: “our legal situation, our personal situation, my political situation. This decision, like every other one, needs to be based upon on that. Legal. Personal. Political.”
Not mentioned by Blagojevich is the criterion of merit or ability for holding the open Senate seat, nor is there any regard for what would be beneficial for Illinois, or anybody outside his own family. He seeks only men and women of wealth with the right connections who will help him bring honor and benefit to his own family. The main cause of this corruption is the ambition of Blagojevich to get himself put in higher offices or in a position to make a lot of money after he leaves office, and to do either one of these things he desperately needs to avoid impeachment as governor, which would take away his reputation. But now that his foolish ambition is out in the open, he'll have great difficulty forging an alliance with anyone.

For a brief "readers guide" to the criminal complaint, go here.


xtra said...

Everyone is "shocked" by Blagojevich's corruption. However, in large part, all he did was be explicit (and on tape, so you can add stupid) about his intentions as opposed to implicitly signaling them like most politicians. The guy is corrupt, don't get me wrong, but a lot of this stuff, angling for a new job, strong arming people for campaign cash, trying to get his wife a board seat (HRC Wal Mart anyone?) is not particularly novel or new for politicians. What was novel was his frankness and stupidity. He did not pursue his corrupt goals with a wink and a nod like most smarter pols.

Ilya said...

I have to disagree with your assumption that all politicians tend to pursue "corrupt goals," and the difference between most politicians and Blagojevich is that he sought them in a stupid way. As I tried to show by quoting the Guv himself, it is the goals he seeks that are themselves what is so appalling to everybody. He was elected to perform his public duties honestly, in the service of the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois. But it turns out that Illinois is served, for better or for worse, only when the Guv's private ends are met. Blagojevich has corrupted the power that he holds and the political institutions of the State of Illinois, for in this corrupt political process and environment the public good is not looked after for its own sake, but only incidentally or secondarily, if at all. The only things served in Blagojevich's world are himself, his family and friends. And the door to the Illinois senate is effectively closed to all honest and meritorious candidates who will refuse to play by Blagojevich's rules.