Category Archives: patrick quinn

OBSERVATION: Random thoughts on Blago’s political demise.

I have a few closing thoughts on the ousting of Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Thought One: Almost unnoticed in the impeachment and removal from office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was a provision that he be barred from ever again running for office in Illinois. I think this is overkill … piling on. Frankly, I think the Legislature is way out of bounds in preventing him from running for any office in the future – including Governor.

I mean, I wouldn’t vote for him. His chance of being elected to any major office is pretty minimal. However, I think he should have the right to run, and the voting public should have the right to decide to hire him or not – and not be pre-empted by a mob of over heated politicians.

While the odds suggest Blago will get indicted and convicted, that is not a certainty. What if he beats the rap? He is then an innocent man. What then?

Thought Two: I wonder … if this all happened one year earlier, would Barack Obama have made it to the White House. For sure, the world outside of Illinois had no idea just how corrupt is the political environment that spawned President Obama. So much of life is timing. (I put this item in as a shameless means to get a photo of Obama in the Blog and attract search engines. Forgive me … but it seems the thing to do these day.)

Thought Three: I heard some pundits chagrining the fact that they will not have Rod Blagojevich around to generate news. They opined that he will now fade into the shadows of public attention. I think not. In fact, I expect Blago to continue to be a very highly visible public figure — continuing to champion his cause in the main spotlight. More interestingly, he is very likely to seek revenge on his enemies – now as a citizen accuser – by dragging them before the same court of public opinion in which he was convicted.

While the self righteous political leaders sell themselves as the noble civic tribunes, I sort of think of them a bit more like Mafia don’s disposing of one of their own – you know – the guy that became a “problem” to the bosses. There is one of these characters in every mob movie.

Also, I am sure Blago knows where a lot of political bodies are buried and the impeachers forgot to take away his shovel. In view of the large volume of taped conversations, I suspect that a lot of others will find their hitherto secret schemes exposing them to a lot of embarrassment, minimally, and maybe criminal complicity. I dare say, old Blago could actually wind up being an unintentional agent of reform.

So cheer up sports fans. We are about to go into extra innings.

Thought Four: Most objective observers seem to agree that the press lost all sense of fairness and impartiality in the coverage of Barack Obama. It would appear that is also true in the case of Rod Blagojevich — althought it was wrath, not adulation, that powered the disturbing bias. I mean, I don’t like Blago at all, but I expect the media to adhere to traditional standards of professional objectivity. Rather than report on the issues, they scolded him, mocked him, belittled him. He was ravaged from every perspective … news, editorials, columns and talk shows. At times, I could not tell if Blago’s antics or the reporting of them was more outrageous. I guess both politicians and the press lose their perspective when offered an opportunity to be pompous.

Thought Five: Is the Blago saga reminding you — as it is me — of the Huey Long (right) epic? If you recall, he was the highly corrupt populist governor of Lousiana. He also was removed from office, but by only one disgruntled government employee with a gun. Blago had 59 disgruntled government employees with an impeachment. Ballots. Bullets? Same result … well … almost. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go to Blockbuster and rent the movie. All the King’s Men. The author of the story claimed it was not about Huey Long. Yeah! Right! Just like Citizen Kaneis not about William Randolph Hearst.

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REACT: Governor ousted … but was it proper?

First the obligatory disclaimer: I am no fan of Governor Rod Blagojevich. I did not like his policies. I think he is most likely guilty of criminal conduct, and will be convicted and sent to prison. I think he deserves no less.

BUT …

I am equally distressed by the way he was removed from office. What transpired is the closest thing to a coup that I have seen under our American system of “innocent until proven guilty” and the quoted more than implemented “rule of law.”

First, there was the highly questionable press conference by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (who I admire greatly). According to many legal experts, he was out of bounds in bringing the case against the Governor to the court of public opinion before he was ready to announce an indictment. In fact, to this day Blago has not been indicted of any crime. Without that press conference to stir the public against the Governor, and coalesce his political adversaries, there would not have been any serious discussion of an impeachment – bad as Blago may be.

Second, there is the question of the impeachment process. Repeatedly noting that it is a “political process,” and not a judicial process, the leaders of the Illinois House and Senate still failed to explain why “fairness” should not be a consideration. In a unique irony, the Governor was barred by the U.S. Attorney’s office from obtaining testimony from those who might be on the witness list for his eventual criminal trial. He could not cross examine witnesses. The Senate-as-court could only listen to a few minutes out of thousands of hours of wire taped conversations because most of the real “evidence” was being withheld for the trial.

Third: It was not a secret vote. While one may say this provided transparency for the public, it really put the “jury” under the pressure of the mob. The secret ballot protects the individual from the intimidation and retribution of the public. I am quite confident that a secret ballot would have produced a number of “no” votes.

Fourth, since it was quite obvious that the Legislature could not prove a “high crimes and misdemeanors” case, they switched to the less specific “abuse of power” accusation. This dubious charge is in the eye of the beholder. By most standards, the Governor’s battles with the Legislature would not rise to impeachment and removal from office – in fact, the notion of impeachment was not even hinted at the time he took the actions now condemned. This means that the central charges against the Governor were not the accusations of the U.S. Attorney, but things he did several years ago that angered members of the Legislature. In other words, those sitting in judgment took advantage of the public anger over the unproven criminal charges to oust the Governor on the vague “abuse” charges.

Fifth, the leaders of the impeachment effort have demonstrated both chutzpah and hypocrisy. Not only did they not accuse the Governor of abuse of power at the time of the alleged abuse, but they praised him, endorsed him, and served on his campaign committee for re-election in the interim. His abuses of power were not recently discovered, only recently defined by those who engaged in the very same processes as one time comrades-in arms.

Yes, it is good that Blago is gone. And yes, Patrick Quinn (left, being sworn in) will most probably make a better governor. However, the impeachment should only be the first step in a broader effort to clean up Illinois government. The political assassins need to be brought to justice next — if nothing more than to be booted from office in the next election. Though they will now blame the former Governor for every ill in Illinois, they are still part of the business-as-usual process that has brought national shame to the Land of Lincoln.

>SUGGESTION: Appoint the senator aleady.

>For the most part, I tend to support Republican positions on most issues – but by far not all the time. The selection of Senator Replacement to fill the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama is one of those exceptions.

Oh! I know why the GOP wants a costly election. They have a good chance of winning the seat. That is exactly why the Dems are now against an election. They could lose it. The cost of the election has nothing … nada … to do with the Democrat’s desire to keep it as an appointment.

Now … as a taxpayer, I DO care about the cost of an election. All things being equal, I suppose I would be happy to cough up my money to give the people a choice. However, there are two other things that put me on the side of an appointment.

First, it is the long standing rule that the governor appoints. As much as I personally would like to see a more conservative senator take the seat, I hate when the politicians change the rules to game the system. If it were not for Governor Rod Blagojevich being escorted from his home in handcuffs, there would be no question as to the proper procedure – a gubernatorial appointment.

Now, I know my stand on principle will not get me that conservative senator I desire, but there is another consideration. The voters of Illinois – contrary to my advice – did elect a Democrat, and a liberal one at that. It is not a disservice to the electorate to have the Democrat governor name Democrat colleague – and one who might even do him so political good. (This does not mean I endorse auctioning off the seat for hard cold cash. No. No. No.)

I really do not care if the appointment is made by Governor Slammerbound or Governor-In-Waiting Patrick Quinn, if he should step into Blago’s teeny shoes. In either case, let the merits of the person appointed stand on their own.

And that brings me to one of the Democrats leading loose cannons, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He has announced that no senator appointed by Blago will be seated. To underscore his determination, Reid had 49 of his Democrat colleagues repeat this in an open letter.

How dare Reid! Who in the hell does he think he is to say that the people of Illinois are not entitled to representation unless he personally approves. Anyone appointed to that seat should be judged on HIS or HER character and qualifications, not on the ethical lapses of the Governor.

Frankly, if I were Blagojevich, I would forget about all those conniving to get the appointment and appoint an outstanding individual. Just as an example, what if he appointed former School Board President George Munoz (left) or a person of that caliber?** Would any one dare to say it is a bad appointment? I think not. Would Reid & Co. dare to reject such a distinguished and qualified candidate? On what basis?

Hmmmm. Now that I said it out loud, the Munoz appointment would be outstanding — and may serve the Governor well in the long run. Naming a Hispanic has not only political pluses, but if he wants to get some friends on an eventual jury, this could do the trick. There will undoubtedly be some Hispanics on the jury. Of course, Governor/jail bird George Ryan tried to influence the jury pool by emptying death row of the mostly black inmates – but it didn’t work. Sure the connection between appointing a Hispanic senator and locking in an acquittal vote in some eventual jury is a very long shot, but given Blago’s situation, long shots are all he has.

At any rate … I think the Governor should shove it down that arrogant Reid’s throat and make the senate appointment ASAP. And if he gets tossed out before he can, then Governor Quinn should make the appointment as his first official act. I am sure both Blago and Quinn have a pretty good idea who they will name by now.

** For those who do not know him … not only was Munoz an outstanding school board president, but he went on to be Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of the Treasury and then President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He holds advance degrees in law, public policy and economics.

>REACT: Obama’s seat up for grabs.

>

There is no doubt that the stunning arrest and indictment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has the Democrats reeling. For a moment, they almost forget who they are.

You will recall that in the moments following U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference, donkey party leaders from Chicago, Springfield and the nation’s capital starting calling for a special election to avoid having the ethically compromised governor appoint the successor to the now sacrosanct Barack Obama seat in the U.S. Senate.

Weeeell … it was not long before they recovered enough to realize the shock of their own action. The leaders of the power-at-all-cost party actually proposed that the citizens of the Land of Lincoln be given a choice. This led them to further realize that the power players would lose the chance to hand pick the next senator. No guarantee the people would pick a black person. No guarantee it would be a political insider. No political benefits (and certianly no cash) for the person or persons making the appointment. Oh my God! No guarantee that the next senator would even be … A DEMOCRAT!

Well, as the aftershocks of “stupid governor-gate” diminished, and more traditional thinking was restored, the same Democrat leaders did a quick one-eighty and decided that the new senator should be appointed by the Blagojevich successor – Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn.

Since Quinn’s rise to the governorship is in the hands of the Madigan family – Michael the Impeacher (right, hugging Blago) or Lisa the Litigator (left) – it is reasonable to guess that the price of promotion may be letting the Madigans pick the senator. Maybe cash is no long the quid for the political pro quo in Illinois, but that does not mean that old fashion horse trading is dead.

The Dem new spin is that an election will be costly. True enough, but democracy in Illinois does not come cheap — whether above board or under the table. And since when has the expense of ANYTHING bothered this tax-and-steal crowd? After all, they are the biggest OPM** abusers of all time – funding their habit out of the public treasury.

I guess there is some perverse comfort in knowing that our elected leaders have returned to some semblance of normalcy. You know … if it walks like a donkey and brays like a donkey, it is still a Democrat.

** Other People’s Money