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Dec 11 2008

Obama Brought Down Blagojevich (Indirectly)

This delights me to no end:

Federal investigators have been focused on Rod Blagojevich for several years, but it was a deeply ironic series of events three months ago that led to yesterday’s dramatic fall.

In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Mr. Obama placed the call to his political mentor, Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois Senate. Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.

Tipped off to Mr. Blagojevich’s efforts, federal agents obtained wiretaps for his phones and eventually overheard what they say was scheming by the governor to profit from his appointment of a successor to the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama. One official whose name has long been mentioned in Chicago political circles as a potential successor is Mr. Jones, a machine politician who was viewed as a roadblock to ethics reform but is friendly with Mr. Obama.

So, in an indirect way, Blagojevich’s fiasco may not have come to pass were it not for Obama’s commitment to ethics reform. Once Obama intervened and the bill became law, Blagojevich had to scramble to collect as many campaign contributions as possible before the law took effect. The governor’s efforts garnered the attention of federal investigators, who in turn tapped Blagojevich’s phone, which in turn produced stunning evidence of brazen corruption.

Talk about the law of unintended consequences, eh? I doubt Obama’s displeased with the result. Annoyed and upset that a Dem could be as astoundingly stupid as Blagojevich, certainly, but corruption is corruption, and it’s nice to see a bill that Obama championed doing its work in unexpected ways.

Of course, our “liberal” media is taking the opportunity to try to proclaim Obama tainted by dirty Chicago politics. Somehow, even championing this ethics reform bill is a sign to them that Obama’s mired in the filth. They’re joining a chorus of wingnuts and Cons who see this as the next best thing to Ayers. I have a feeling the public will be just about as impressed: a few scattered nutcases will spin conspiracy theories, and the rest of the country will yawn. Guilt-by-association games are losing their lustre for the majority of us.

(Here’s my plan for a better country: I think we need to peel off the few decent journalists remaining, pair them with the three or four sane Republicans still standing, and use them as the nucleus for creating a strong press corp and a worthy opposition party. The dross can be shipped to a hermetically-sealed compound on some remote island, where they can lie, smear, and bullshit each other to their heart’s content. Call it a paradise for fucktards. Of course, it wouldn’t last long: such a high concentration of gasbags in one place would probably lead to spontaneous combustion within a month or two.)

Here’s one of the reasons I don’t think this attempt to play Pin the Scandal on the President-Elect will succeed:

This is pretty interesting: An Obama aide points out to us that the Obama transition team has just rolled out an innovative new feature on its Web site, hoping to carry through on the President-elect’s campaign promises of greater government transparency.

It’s a page entitled “Open For Questions,” in which anyone can submit questions to the transition and, subsequently, to the administration.

The rub, though, is this: The public is able to vote on how much they’d like certain queries to be a priority, and the voting tally is visible — which means it’ll be tougher for the Obama team to not answer questions that participants clearly want answered.

The man has no fucking fear. None. So, between the fact that he’s the one who kept that ethics legislation from dying, and the fact that he’s preparing to expose his government to more sunshine than the White House has possibly ever seen before, I don’t think the media clowns and greater wingnuttia combined are going to be enough to harm him. Bill Clinton stepped into Reagan’s shoes long enough to claim the title “Teflon President,” but I think they’re both going to have to move over for our Adamantium President.

This shall be fun to watch.