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Tilting at Windmills

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January 9, 2009

BLAGOJEVICH IMPEACHED.... Last night, Illinois' investigative committee, made up of members of both parties, voted unanimously to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). Today, the full state House followed suit.

In a historic vote, the Illinois House has impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, directing the Senate to put the state's 40th chief executive on trial with the goal of removing him from office.

The vote by the House was 114-1 and marks the first time in the state's 190-year history that a governor has been impeached, despite Illinois' longstanding reputation for political corruption.

Rep. Milt Patterson (D-Chicago) was the lone vote against impeaching the governor. Patterson, from Chicago's Southwest Side, said after the roll call that he didn't feel it was his job to vote to impeach the governor. He declined comment on whether he approved of the job Blagojevich is doing.

I'm not sure what Patterson's talking about -- who else's job could it be? -- but the lack of unanimity doesn't much matter. The issue now heads to the state Senate for a trial, which is set to begin next week.

The process is a relatively slow one -- the Tribune noted that the trial is "expected to take at least three weeks." If two-thirds of the chamber votes to convict, Blagojevich would be removed from office, and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would become the state's new chief executive.

As for Blagojevich, who was jogging during the House proceedings, he has vowed not to resign, but will hold a press conferences this afternoon at 3 p.m. eastern.

It seems almost odd that Blagojevich doesn't just step down with at least a shred of dignity, and say he wants to devote all of his energies to his criminal defense, but given what we know of the governor, expecting rational behavior is asking too much.

Steve Benen 12:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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And why would Blago step down? First, there's no dignity for him to salvage, none at all: he was caught on tape describing his felonies, for Pete's sake, and called Obama a "motherfucker" for not being corrupt. Rachel Maddow had a (awesome) field-day "reconstructing" Blagojevich's phone conversations, on national TV.

On the other hand, he's got a WHOLE THREE WEEKS in office to do, literally, whatever he wants! He's done a ton of damage to the Democrats already by appointing Burris, activating a mighty Senatorial hissy fit, which revealed Harry Reid, et al. for a bunch of aristocratic sissies that they are. He's got full powers of governorship and nothing to lose, since he's going to jail anyway. So, he's going to put these three weeks to good use. Ah, democracy...

Posted by: FreeProton on January 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Did Rod's sister-in-law vote to impeach him or did she duck the roll call?

Posted by: mike on January 9, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

For far too long it's been pay-to-play here in the Land of Lincoln.

Watch this music video -- http://blogs.chicagoreader.com/politics/2009/01/06/pay-play-video/ -- and you'll know why the Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky wrote that the song "tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the culture of politics in our fair state."

PAY TO PLAY (But Keep Love In Your Heart)

VERSE
All my life I've been a workin' man
On Chicago's northwest side
Livin' check to check, never gettin' ahead
No matter how hard I tried

I had an old friend from the neighborhood
He grew up to do just fine
He couldn't read or write to save his life
But I guess his boss didn't mind

Now, I never quite knew what my old friend did
To get that money rollin' in
But life, I guess, can be pretty good
For a state committeeman

So, one night over beer at the local bar
I said, "How'd you make your dough?"
My friend just grinned a wicked grin
And said, "Here's all you need to know"

CHORUS
You've got to pay-to-play in this town
If you wanna make that deal go down
It's who you know inside the Big Machine
Just find the man that's behind the man
And put some money in his hand
That's how we try to keep our city green

VERSE
Well, the liquor flowed and the stories flew
And my old friend bared his soul
About rigging bids and getting neighbor kids
Good jobs on a ghost payroll

He said he'd be happy to help me out
If there was anything he could do
Like try to arrange a zoning change
Or put me on a movie crew

Well we talked and talked until last call
And I told him I was beat
Then he climbed aboard his hired truck
To see a man about a Senate seat

And late that night as I lay in bed
You know I finally figured it out
My friend didn't need to read or write
'Cuz he had himself some clout

CHORUS
You've got to pay-to-play in this town
If you wanna make that deal go down
It's who you know inside the Big Machine
Just find the man that's behind the man
And put some money in his hand
That's how we try to keep our city green

CHORUS
You've got to pay-to-play in this town
If you wanna make that deal go down
It's who you know inside the Big Machine
If you wanna stand out
You gotta know who gets the handout
That's how we try to keep our city green
It's a daily job to keep our city green

Posted by: Pay To Play on January 9, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Did Rod's sister-in-law vote to impeach him or did she duck the roll call?

IIRC, she takes office next week, when the 96th General Assembly convenes

Posted by: DJ on January 9, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

And why would Blago step down?

There's one good reason he should step down (and should have behaved far differently throughout this brouhaha): if Fitzgerald gets the job done, in a matter of months or years Blago is going to be facing a judge for sentencing. His refusal to elevate the needs of his constituents over his own selfish whims--when he's charged with abuse of power, of all things--is certainly not going to enhance his image in that circumstance.

Hard as it is to imagine being Blago, if I were in his shoes, I'd start trying to reframe myself as a responsible and selfless public servant ASAP.

Posted by: Mike B. on January 9, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Milt Patterson (D-Chicago)
I like him. Must remember his name. I admire dissent.

Posted by: EC SEdgwick on January 9, 2009 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Milt Patterson (D-Chicago)
I like him. Must remember his name. I admire dissent.

Based on his stated reasons for voting no (not his job), this was not dissent, but dereliction of duty. If he had voted no because he believed the charges to be improper or insufficiently proven, that would be fine. He just punted.

Posted by: DJ on January 9, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I've decided this year to make even more of a pest of myself by calling attention to the casual use of anti-gay slurs -- as with Freeproton's use of 'sissies' above.

If someone chooses the term deliberately, fine, I'm not trying to impose PC-ness on us. But too frequently people use terms like this without thinking. (Yes, I'm guilty too. As someone who is, literally, a cocksucker, I hate hearing the term used as a 'general negative' but I hate even more when I hear it coming out of my own mouth -- which happens far too often.)

Sometimes getting people to realize what they've done is enough to convince them to try harder to not do it.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on January 9, 2009 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Patterson showed that it is not only Republicans who celebrate their ignorance.

Posted by: freelunch on January 9, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I recall reading that Patterson has been seriously ill. That explains everything, including Blago.

Posted by: lou on January 9, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Milt Patterson (D-Chicago) was the lone vote against impeaching the governor.

I can see the Fox headline now: Some Democrats Vote to Support Blago

Posted by: martin on January 9, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone tried to "psychoanalyze" Blago, to see WTF happened to him that he turned out like this? I'd want to see what the hell happened to John Edwards and Spitz too, this stuff is really weird (and every time a Dem does it, we look bad.)

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on January 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

More on topic, you list the vote as 114 Yea, 1 Nay, but according to Ezra, there was also one vote of 'present' (unfortunately, his link is bad). Anyone know more about this?

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on January 9, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Prup,

"Sissy" comes from the word "sister," and although it usually refers disparagingly to a gay man, that's an overlayer that rests on the foundational insult of disparaging women. I note that an understanding of this fact is missing completely from your post. "Pussy," a word that's used pretty frequently around here and even more at the old Carpetbagger Report, and which I don't ever remember hearing you complain about, is, of course, even more of a direct reference to women.

The root of both intended insults is the same: What is, the speaker's thinking goes, the worst thing you can say about a man? Call him a woman or derogate his feminine qualities.

Now, I want to be very clear: I'm not at all offended by the word "pussy" as an epithet; it's got such widespread and non-specific use that it would be silly to go looking for ill intention from the user when it's so rarely intended. Plus, I kind of like the word, which has a camp quality to it, and is by no means only a useful descriptor when used as an insult. You might say it has all-around utility.

I don't use the word "sissy" myself, preferring the all-purpose "candyass," but that's because, despite my many other and sometimes serious failures of empathy, this is one place where I try a little harder to think about not insulting someone else than I do about feeling insulted myself.

You, it appears, operate in the opposite fashion. It might be worth giving a little thought to why you're offended by some words, not by others, and what the underlying insult is in the words you are offended by.

Posted by: shortstop on January 9, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone tried to "psychoanalyze" Blago, to see WTF happened to him that he turned out like this? -Neil B

Narcissism and greed with a little god complex sprinkled in for good measure.

I'd want to see what the hell happened to John Edwards and Spitz too... -Neil B

They were born with a penis. Then they got money and power.

I honestly don't think much more analysis in needed in any of those situations.

Posted by: doubtful on January 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

there was also one vote of 'present' (unfortunately, his link is bad). Anyone know more about this?

TPMelectioncentral has the story. Here's the key quote:

[Elga] Jefferies said that she felt that the investigation against Blagojevich had become personal, with the legislators digging in on hirings that went back years. Aargh!

Posted by: Danp on January 9, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop -- the only thing I disagree with in your excellent post is your assumption I am not offended by 'pussy.' (This determination to point this out is a New Year's Resolution -- and may last as long as they usually do. I haven't been doing this in the past except sporadically.)

I'll admit that 'pussy' has always seemed such an 'adolescent' word -- describing attitude, not age -- that I might have not mentioned it if it was buried in a post equally puerile.

It's not a matter of offense -- all generalizing name calling (even "Rethuglican") offends me. It's simply trying to make people aware of something they have not thought about. (Which -- I say with less confidence after your excellent comment -- I still think is more likely to occur with 'casual gay slurs' than with slurs against other groups. And again, if a person uses a pejorative deliberately, I've got nothing to say -- whatever I might think.)

Other than that, I really appreciated you making the point that many anti-gay epithets are as much anti-woman as anti-gay, and thus doubly offensive.

We are much more in agreement than you might have realized -- and the fault is definitely mine for being imprecise and not thinking things through enough -- ironic in a comment meant to make other people 'think things through.'

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on January 9, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

males are described as sissies when they display traits normally associated with females, like non-repressed displays of emotion, or choosing not to fight during a confrontation. as such, the word sissy is neither anti-gay nor anti-female. rather, it displays the cultural bias that males need to behave differently from females, and that the male version is superior. but the truth of that assumption varies among circumstances. so calling someone a sissy is really like calling someone a geek ... used to be an insult, until (most) folks smartened up, and figured out that it was ok to act and appear intelligent. so, when male and bothered by the word sissy: smarten up, get over it, have a good cry in public.

Posted by: sam the clam on January 9, 2009 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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