Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2008

GIVE THE GUY A GOLDEN PARACHUTE.... As long as Rod Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois, the state's political system is effectively halted. What's more, the avenues for resolution appear blocked -- Blagojevich apparently isn't going to resign, the Supreme Court isn't going to oust him, and impeachment is off to a rather slow start. There's also no progress at all with filling Illinois' vacant Senate seat -- the governor knows he can't appoint someone, and there's waning support for a special election.

Something has to budge, and it starts with a change at the top. But how to get rid of a governor who wants to stick around? Eric Kleefeld directs our attention to a very outside-the-box idea from Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown, who suggests the people of Illinois "steal a page from the governor."

Just how much money do you think it would take to persuade Blagojevich to get the bleep out of the way?

I'm serious. Big corporations do it all the time. They've got a screw-up executive in the way, and they need to make a change. To save time and trouble, they pay him to get lost. It could be worth a try.

I assume Brown isn't really serious, but it's hard not to admire just how clever this idea is.

Reading the criminal complaint against Blagojevich, and going through the text of the recorded conversations, it's obvious the governor wants a lot of money ... in his bank account ... sooner rather than later. When he's recorded saying, "I want to make money," his motivations aren't exactly cryptic.

Indeed, while trying to figure out how to cash in on the Senate vacancy, Blagojevich describes a scenario in which he could become the head of some progressive organization that would -- you guessed it -- pay him a lot of money.

With this in mind, if Illinois wants to get rid of Blagojevich, Illinois would have to give him what he wants. Apparently, that's cash.

Now, paying the governor to go away is obviously not a realistic scenario. But as outside-the-box thinking goes, I like it.

Steve Benen 2:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

Paying him $150,000 to resign is probably the cheapest way to do it for the state of Illinois if he won't resign before being impeached. Unfortunately, that would set a bad precedent.

Posted by: American Citizen on December 18, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

We did it in Brattleboro last year! Why not? It's called a "severance package."

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

"MUNICIPAL TURMOIL: On Jan. 10, a draft report filed by the Federal Transportation Agency found that the multimodal project - the town parking garage and the Union Station upgrade - never complied with federal regulations and that the town made serious mistakes in managing the $5 million project.

"While a state auditor's report released in February concluded there was no fraud associated with the project, all eyes were on Town Manager Jerry Remillard, who had been out since December 2006 on medical leave.

"On Feb. 11, the Selectboard held a noontime emergency meeting, warned on just 15 minutes notice, to vote to order Remillard to turn in his town-issued laptop computer.

"On Feb. 28, the Selectboard voted 4-1 to give Chairman Stephen Steidle the authority to offer Remillard a separation agreement. Remillard accepted it the next day. He received a severance package of $75,000, to be paid over a five-year period. The decision ended a 36-year career with the town."

Posted by: The Answer Is Green on December 18, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

How about the good citizens of Illinois storm the governor's office and run him out of the state on a rail, like in the good old days?

Or better yet, his cappo could call and say, "All dis bad publicity, it's bad for business. I want you should get out of town for a while, maybe get a new profession. Take some cannolis."

I bet that would work.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on December 18, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

This is Chicago. You don't pay a person to go away. You pay someone to make him disappear.

Posted by: steve duncan on December 18, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Blagojevich would be a fool to resign. His office is his defensive weapon. To resign and then defend himself as a powerless common citizen would be idiocy.

Geeeez

Posted by: Geeeeez on December 18, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Another bad idea, but still outside the box: cement galoshes.

Posted by: Danp on December 18, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Can we pay President Bush to retire early? Just asking.

Posted by: CT on December 18, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

What he'll do is auction off the tapes of his conversations with Emmanuel as soon as he gets access to them. That should be soon.

Posted by: Mike K on December 18, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

You know, some states have a thing they refer to as "Recall Elections." California, for example: a few years ago -- rather unfairly, actually -- Gov. Gray Davis was recalled, opening the way for Arnold.

Should I take it that the Illinois state constitution does not provide for recalls? Unfortunate oversight if true.

Posted by: Roger Keeling on December 18, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Illinois does not have recall elections. We actually had a ballot initiative about it in November, but it lost. I voted against it since, while I didnt like Blago, I also didnt like the idea of a future good governor getting the Gray Davis treatment.

I've been assuming for awhile that Blago is holding on for just the reason Mark Brown suggests. He's got this thing, and it's bleeping golden. It used to be that the thing was the senate seat; now it's his own seat. The entire world wants him to go away, so he's biding his time to see how much it's worth for him to exit.

Posted by: TG Chicago on December 18, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't the state just vote to reduce his pay to zero, take away any privileges granted to the governor and just starve him out?

Posted by: Dean on December 18, 2008 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why not declare him an enemy combatant and send him to Guantanamo? It apparently does not require any legal procedure to do that. Say he is a threat to National Security for whatever reason and off he goes.
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on December 18, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, why exactly doesn't every inhabitant of Illinois call their state rep and make this impeachment happen?

Seriously, what's the holdup here?

And Dean's idea is solid. Enough with the carrot, let's pull out some sticks. As impeachment progresses, take away EVERYTHING from the Governor that they legally can. Pay, staff, cars, perks, phone, email...you name it.

Posted by: anonymiss on December 18, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares? I am at a loss to understand why you are devoting so much space to this slimeball. You are as guilty as the MSM of perpetuating this non-story. A previous commentor said you must do it to counteract the negative press that Obama is getting, but what about this entry does that? There is enough going on without wasting time with this non-issue.

Posted by: Barry Walden on December 18, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Does this guy need money or addiction rehab? When someone talks about needing a lot of money right away, and taking reckless chances to get it (like saying indiscreet things when he knows he's under investigation) I have to ask why. Possibility a: he needs to buy a lot of his drug of choice. Possibility b: he has huge gambling debts, and Big Rocco has told him he'd better pay up OR ELSE.

Then again, maybe he's just a greedy pig. But the grandiosity does seem to go with addictive personality. It's looking more and more as though this guy is one sick puppy, and although it's been great fun to laugh at him so far, the joke is going sour, especially since the press corps seems hell bent on hanging this around Obama's neck in spite of the total absence of any evidence that he did anything inappropriate.

Posted by: T-Rex on December 18, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's not a very serious proposition, but it's almost like the SNL skit come to its fruition--"Give me what I want or I'll tear the f---in' place down!"

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 18, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Give him a few fistfuls of Madoff warrants, and run him off.

Posted by: bdbd on December 18, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Someone put a horse's head in his bed!!!

Seriously, I doubt that he would even consider the $150,000 as sufficient compensation as a golden parachute. Given that, paying him off would be rewarding criminal behavior. Aren't they going to arrest him? Why wait?

I'm with anonymiss, take everything away from him so he can't function and only do business through the Lt. Gov.

Then, like T-Rex says, he's probably and addictive personality, although the addiction is evidently to power and control. However, if there is something out there, find it and arrest him for it.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on December 18, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Couldn't he be pursuaded somehow to appoint a three person panel (heads of legislative branch and an Obama rep, for example) to put together a list of 3 or 4 qualified people and then he picks someone from that list within 24 hours of being presented that list?

Posted by: bubba on December 18, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Does this guy need money or addiction rehab? When someone talks about needing a lot of money right away, and taking reckless chances to get it (like saying indiscreet things when he knows he's under investigation) I have to ask why.

He owes $750K in first and second mortgages on his Chicago home, $150K on a Washington condo he's inexplicably holding on to, and $500K to his last lawyer, who quit because he wasn't getting paid. Those are the debts we know about. And now he has a new and very 'spensive lawyer for this little set of charges.

I don't think he's holding on for the money any more. He's holding on to see if his resignation can potentially reduce his sentence, or whether, as Geeeez says, quitting now gives him even less leverage while defending himself.

Oh, and he's barking fucking mad, in addition to being monumentally corrupt and colossally stupid.

Posted by: shortstop on December 18, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Blago deserves one thing: jail time. The feds have been investigating this guy for 3-4 years, and they have plenty of evidence to on other things than conversations about "selling" an open Senate seat. Impeach and conviction in the Illinois Congress and then criminal charges pursued, or vice versa. Who cares? Paying him off is a horrible option. We already did that once with Nixon (pardon and continuing financial support) and look what we got! Bush II.

Posted by: impeachcheneythenbush on December 18, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

For years now I've thought that's what we should have done with Saddam. Wouldn't the last six years have been so much better for the whole world if we'd just given him $50 billion to go away? And that would've been a bargain.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on December 18, 2008 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

OK, so Illinois needs a senator and all that, but other than that, why would we want the most entertaining political scandal in decades to just go away?

THINK, people!

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on December 18, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see Todd Stroger take over as governor.

(Illinoisan inside joke. Todd Stroger makes Robert Mugabe look like a statesman.)

I don't know why Blagojevich can't appoint a senator. He has wires keeping him clean. I'd worry about New York.

Posted by: Luther on December 19, 2008 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK
Just how much money do you think it would take to persuade Blagojevich to get the bleep out of the way?

I'm serious. Big corporations do it all the time. They've got a screw-up executive in the way, and they need to make a change. To save time and trouble, they pay him to get lost. It could be worth a try.

What? - and if he accepts, then Fitzgerald then indicts him for taking a bribe?

.

Posted by: SteveGinIL on December 19, 2008 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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