Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rod Blagojevich Returns to Work

Apparently, there may be some folks in Illinois who haven’t been shaken down for his benefit. Some business somewhere that hasn’t been looted on his behalf.

What else would you expect from a man who held up funding for a children’s hospital because the CEO hadn’t come through with a $50,000 donation:

“Fitzgerald said Blagojevich was looking to pull $8 million in funding for a children's hospital after the hospital's chief executive officer did not give a $50,000 contribution to the governor's campaign.”
I’d like to think that the government of Illinois would have the sense to count the spoons and make him empty his pockets before he leaves each day.

The major question is “Why hasn’t Obama called for Blagojevich’s resignation / impeachment?”. Here’s the rather tepid response from Obama from the LA Times interview (bold is the LAT):

Have you ever spoken to [ Illinois] Gov. [ Rod R.] Blagojevich about the Senate seat?

I have not discussed the Senate seat with the governor at any time. My strong belief is that it needed to be filled by somebody who is going to represent the people of Illinois and fight for them. And beyond that, I was focused on the transition.

And that was before and after the election?

Yes.

Are you aware of any conversations between Blagojevich or [chief of staff] John Harris and any of your top aides, including Rahm Emanuel?

Let me stop you there because . . . it's an ongoing investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to, you know, remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know. And that's the fact that I didn't discuss this issue with the governor at all.

Could you talk to the point of whether an appointment by Gov. Blagojevich would taint whoever your successor would be, given what we know?

I think what the people of Illinois deserve is somebody they can trust, somebody that's going to fight for them and, you know, I think we've got to make sure that whatever process emerges gives them that assurance. I haven't examined all the options that are out there at this point.”
Apparently, selling off Senate seats and abuse of power don’t seem to be important enough to warrant even mild censure. At least not if the offender is a Democrat who helped your career.

I still don’t think that there’s any material likelihood that Team Obama was going along with any of these shenanigans, but this sort of ‘no big deal’ response doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence.

I certainly don’t believe that Obama or his aides have never discussed the Senate seat appointment with Blago or his henchmen. Criminy, it’s the seat he won in an election, and he doesn’t have an opinion that he’s willing to share with the Governor of his state?

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I hope that David Patterson is taking good notes on all of this.

Update: Obama’s advisors are now saying that he’s calling for the resignation of Gov. Blagojevich. Guess that the focus group results came back.