Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well, I figured there would be some fallout from the whole Illinois corruption thing, going back to the Rezko trial, but this?
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges.

Blagojevich and Harris were accused of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that included Blagojevich conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife. The governor was also accused of obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.


Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his North Side home this morning.

Ouch. Naturally, Obama's sainthood is tarnished just a little by this revelation, but it doesn't touch him beyond that, as far as anyone is saying. Too, it would have to take a mistake of monumental proportions for this to somehow get tied back to Obama. I suspect he was purposely left completely out of the loop in any way, shape or form. At worst, someone lower-level in his campaign organization will take a fall for even discussing Obama's noninvolvement.
However, it is unlikely that Obama became such a powerful force in Illinois politics without having to dip his hand into this barrel of slime at some point, and that will likely come back to haunt him.
Blagojevich is a particularly unctious little creep, judging by the various investigations that he is or has been the subject of, but Illinois has a long history of people like this, from former governor George Ryan to the infamous Daley machine. It's not pretty.
It's possible that Obama's fast rise was predicated on keeping him out of the muck in this machine, much like Harry Truman managed to win the Presidency despite being a member of the Pendergast machine of the 40s and 50s in Missouri. Truman had a few brow-raising favors traded with Pendergast, but much of the dirty work seemed to take place around him but avoiding him directly.
Or he avoiding it.
Either way, the rest is history, and one can hope that the same can be said for Obama.
The difference, of course, is the Republican party today plays a far nastier and unctious game themselves and it's not out of the question that this shadow will hang over and hamper the Obama first term almost as much as the Lewinski affair nearly defined the Clinton legacy.