I am not going to spend much time here discussing our disgraced governor. He was disgraced before this arrest, but the misconduct alleged in the criminal complaint is truly mind-boggling. Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn posted a link to a text version of the complaint here, and provides some interesting commentary to boot, including a quote from my State Rep., Joe Lyons, from last year, calling the hopefully soon-to-be outgoing governor “a madman” and “insane,” and not in a good way.
I will say that Blago took office as a reformer, and brought a number of smart, dedicated, and honest hardworking people into the administration, including several people I know. Not least on the tally of the damage he has caused is the unfair taint that may follow them long after he’s gone.
Update at 11:15pm: I have now gone through the complaint, and — assuming the allegations are true — what this guy did was so bad you have to wonder if he was planning for an insanity defense. The frustrating thing was also how stupid he comes across. Not just in the sense of how could he think he wouldn’t be caught, but in simply not understanding how the world works. He seemed to think that the President has the power to remove officers of not-for-profit organizations and replace them (say, with departing Midwestern governors), or that Obama could pick up the phone and call Warren Buffett and Buffett would write a check for $10 million to fund a private foundation for Blago to run (at a nice salary). Delusional.
When I was much younger, I had an interest in a political career (it was finally cured by a two-year term on the board of our 500-unit condominium association). At some point when we were in college and I was still relatively new to Illinois, I expressed an interest to the future Mrs. Unfocused in some day running for governor. Don’t even think about it, she told me. I don’t remember her exact words, but the sense of it was that Illinois politics is a cesspool, and my ambition shouldn’t be to jump into it. You want to go into politics, she said, fine, but go national and stay out of Springfield.
Now I’ve done her one better, and dropped the whole idea, but the point is, she’s a smart lady, which is one of the reasons I married her.