Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 29, 2009

WELCOME, GOV. QUINN.... Rod Blagojevich spoke at some length to the Illinois Senate today, imploring state lawmakers not to remove him from office. He was not, apparently, persuasive.

The Illinois State Senate on Thursday convicted Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich on a sprawling article of impeachment that charged him with abusing his power. The vote prompted the governor's immediate and permanent ouster, and ended nearly two months of political spectacle in which he sought unsuccessfully to salvage his reputation and career here and across the country. [...]

Mr. Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat who rose from the ranks of Chicago ward politics on the strength of his charisma and family connections, is the first governor in the state's history to be impeached. The senators voted 59 to zero in favor of removing him after a four-day trial; a dramatic, 45-minute speech by Mr. Blagojevich in which he declared his innocence; and about two hours of deliberation.

Blagojevich was also barred from ever running for any public office in Illinois. Democrat Pat Quinn, up until a couple of hours ago the lieutenant governor, has already been sworn in as Illinois' new governor.

Blagojevich, sounding a bit like Helen Lovejoy, said his only wrongdoing was caring for the children.

For what it's worth, he can now devote all of his time to his criminal defense.

Steve Benen 7:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

LOL, Blago is a lunatic! What's kind of surprising to me is that the media has largely refrained from pouncing on this and blitzgrieging the airways with non-stop Blago, ala O.J. Simpson.

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 29, 2009 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Doh!
AirWAVES

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 29, 2009 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the second vote to bar him from ever holding public office in Illinois was overkill. Remember that he hasn't even been indicted yet.

Posted by: Leo on January 29, 2009 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

This is sad. Fitzpatrick's got nuthin'! Blago Forever!

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian on January 29, 2009 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

God, I feel for those two poor kids of his.

Who knows what is going on behind the cameras,
inside that house...

He's unbelievably grandiose and paranoid and manic.
It's so clear he's mentally ill.

I just hope no-one gets hurt when the reality of it all slowly sinks in for him.

It's interesting no-one (News Analysts, Tevee pundits) have made mention of this obvious fact--everyone keeps skirting around this.

Posted by: I feel for Blago's kids on January 29, 2009 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sicilian snark

I had such profound disrespect for him that I never bothered
to learn how to pronounce or spell his name. Blogowhateverthefuck.

Gun. Trigger. Ciao baby.

Posted by: koreyel on January 29, 2009 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

F**K you people! His little dog, Checkers, loves him very much ! And his daughter, Tricia, loves Checkers right back.

He walked like a Knowing Lion among the chattering hyenas.

No, wait, that's the other criminal scumbag.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on January 29, 2009 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody want to explain why CNN devoted commercial-free coverage of Blago's testimony? My lunch was ruined! Ruined!!

Posted by: Brakmaster on January 29, 2009 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

He's a 'high functioning' psychotic, he's manic with delusions of grandeur. Why doesn't anyone just say so?
It's so obvious. He's textbook.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Sheez...what's amazing to me is he was elected not once, but twice!

Posted by: Blago is textbook Grandiose on January 29, 2009 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sheez...what's amazing to me is he was elected not once, but twice!

And he's still better than the Republicans who ran against him.

Posted by: Jay B. on January 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't throw around psychiatric terms. The man is hypermanic but so are many of the most interesting people.

I agree with Chris Matthews, the man has a lot of charm. He has also been railroaded.

Yes, he is crazy, crazy like a fox.

Posted by: Pietr on January 29, 2009 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't throw around psychiatric terms....The man is hypermanic.

LOL @ whatever that means.

Posted by: MissMudd on January 29, 2009 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

he has also been railroaded

No he hasn't. Did you read any of the transcripts? It's possible, although unlikely, that he'll come up with a plausible defense when the case goes to trial, but we haven't heard one yet. It doesn't matter anyway - whether or not he is eventually accquited is irrelevant at this point, because he can't be an effective governor with this hanging over his head. His credibility is gone and anything he does will automatically fall under suspicion; he has only himself to blame. The residents of Illinois deserve a governor who is capable of performing his duties, and since Blagojevich failed to resign (and has already stirred up even more chaos by appointing Burris), the legislators had no choice but to throw him out.

I agree that barring him from holding office again seems like overkill. Fitzgerald will surely finish off his political career.

Posted by: Nat on January 29, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Pietr, he's crazy like a crazy guy.

Posted by: shortstop on January 29, 2009 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Criminal defense?

Please.

Remember that nearly two months ago, Fitz promised to release more info from the undercover investigation?

I'm still waiting.

I won't go 50-50 odds, but I will go 1-3 he's never convicted of anything above a misdemeanor uncovered by prosecutorial trolling.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 29, 2009 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

AS to not get buried in quick hits:

A Turkey-Israel dust-up over Gaza at Davos today:

http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2009/01/turkish-pm-walks-out-on-davos-over-gaza.html

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on January 29, 2009 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

I liked his comment in his own defense that the things he did while in office were "mostly right."

The other interesting thing to me, writing from New Zealand as I am, is that now everyone in the world knows how to pronouce "Blagojevich."

Posted by: steveb on January 29, 2009 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly: I'll take those odds. With the amount of hilarious transcripts that Fitzgerald has released so far, of course Blago was going to be indicted - hardly "prosecutorial trolling." I don't think the "taken out of context" defense is going to convince many people who hear him discussing ways to personally profit by appointing a senator. I would be surprised, however, if he spent very long in jail; most of his schemes do not appear to have been very successful or made it past the planning stage, unlike George Ryan who had demonstrably accepted bribes (and, according to a commenter here, abused his power in a way that indirectly led to deaths). I don't know if he'll be able to plea bargain his way into community service and no jail; I guess it depends on whether Fitzgerald really does have more in reserve.

Regardless, if he wanted to keep his job he owed the public, and especially the legislators, a serious explanation of his innocence, not this "for the children" BS.

Posted by: Nat on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Some tried to get one guy on sex. Today, others nailed a fellow for malfeasance, misfeasance and non-feasance in office. Shame that causing the deaths of thousands and the maiming of far more is not considered, in some circles, to be impeachable.

Meanwhile "Senator" Burriss voted against the final passage of SCHIPs. If I heard that final tally, incorrectly, I will correct this.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 29, 2009 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

I won't go 50-50 odds, but I will go 1-3 he's never convicted of anything above a misdemeanor uncovered by prosecutorial trolling.

Since Fitz has a solid history of only bringing charges he can make stick (whether or not the woefully uninformed understand the difference between charges they personally would love to see made and those that are possible to make based on actual evidence), and he's already brought felony charges here, you will be wrong. Again.

Posted by: shortstop on January 29, 2009 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly: I won't go 50-50 odds, but I will go 1-3 he's never convicted of anything above a misdemeanor uncovered by prosecutorial trolling.

At trial, Blago's defense team will subpoena every tapped phone conversation and every other bit of evidence that Fitzgerald has, and scour the whole record for "exculpatory" information. Even if there is no "exculpatory" information, there may be plenty of stuff that is embarrassing to other parties, and lots of it might be leaked. With that as a possibility, they might not even proceed against him.

The nice thing about the impeachment is that Blago didn't have many constitutional protections. At trial, that won't apply. On the other hand, there might not be any competent trial lawyers who want to work with him, as he showed himself to be a difficult client.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 29, 2009 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: he's already brought felony charges here, you will be wrong. Again.

On the other hand, Fitzgerald requested and got a postponement. He hasn't even got an indictment yet.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 29, 2009 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, Fitzgerald requested and got a postponement. He hasn't even got an indictment yet.

That's right. And in the course of justice, postponements are terribly ordinary things that don't denote failure or suspicious circumstances except to Barcalounger bloviators and snarling contrarians. Given what everyone who's been paying attention knows about Fitz's strong disinclination--actually, refusal is more like it--to bring charges unless they're gold, is it more likely that he asked for a postponement because a) he woke up in the middle of the night and realized he'd read the U.S. Criminal Code wrong and his conspiracy and mail fraud charges wouldn't stick, or b) the arrest of Blago got some formerly silent folks talkin' and Fitz is trying to nail down as much more as he can before he indicts? Add to that his comment at the press conference that there is more happening than appears in the complaint.

Unless you can make a better case than the unfortunately unsocratic gadfly did that the prosecutor owes you more info on your schedule, you'll just have to wait and see along with the rest of us. I suspect there will be more, but if not, what he has will do just fine.

there may be plenty of stuff that is embarrassing to other parties, and lots of it might be leaked. With that as a possibility, they might not even proceed against him.

Who is "they"? Are you one of those Republicans who think Fitz is controlled by the Democratic Party because he bagged Libby and Ryan--the perfect paranoid counterpart to the (fewer in number but still laughable) Dems who swear he's on the RNC payroll because he nailed half of Daley's cabinet, was unable to get sufficient evidence against Rove and couldn't find a way to get around Bush to send Libby to jail? Blago is going to prison. If you've followed Fitzgerald's career (and I know you haven't), you know that he won't care if he takes half the Illinois General Assembly and Chicago City Council down as part of this case. Nor should he, if they're involved in pay-to-play.

Posted by: shortstop on January 29, 2009 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a quote from Mitch McConnell at the GOP winter conference:

The party does have problems, McConnell told them, but they're all about image: "Ask most people what Republicans think about immigrants, and they'll say we fear them. Ask most people what we think about the environment, and they'll say we don't care about it. Ask most people what we think about the family, and they'll tell you we don't -- until about a month before Election Day."

This doesn't happen very often, but I totally agree with him - what he thinks people think about the Republican party. Seems like he's been looking deep, very deep into that black hole in his chest.

Of course he'll have to look a little deeper to see that it's not an image problem; it's how the Republican party is.

Posted by: bruno on January 29, 2009 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

berttheclock: Meanwhile "Senator" Burriss voted against the final passage of SCHIPs. If I heard that final tally, incorrectly, I will correct this.
You heard wrong.

Posted by: OriGuy on January 30, 2009 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Yawn.

I used to enjoy going to the circus. But Blago is just the latest reminder: WE NEED BETTER CLOWNS, DAMMIT!

Posted by: KevinHayden on January 30, 2009 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Blago had some good points.

1. Big campaign contributors pay for influence. My employer is one of the big Dem contributors, and everybody knows what his issue is, so when Obama came to visit him with his hand outstretched, for ex., the message was clear I'm sure whether or not it was explicitly stated.

2. A bad precedent to remove a governor in such a hasty manner. Fitzgerald gave them a sword, and the media incited the mob as with Nixon, but the real reason was his unpopularity with the legislature. Not saying Blago didn't deserve to be removed, but the process was a bit lacking in serious deliberation and process I thought.

Best line. A black Illinois legislator stood up and exclaimed, "This bleeping impeachment is golden!"

Posted by: Luther on January 30, 2009 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Could this be true, as reported by Alex Koppelman on Salon.
Gregg to get Commerce, Dems to get 60 Senate seats?

Posted by: bruno on January 30, 2009 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

here's the Huffington Post link to the Senator Gregg for Commerce rumor.

Posted by: bruno on January 30, 2009 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Forget insightful commentary. I'd like to point out how late a post that was for Benen. He must be staying up past his bed time!

Posted by: Badass4Peace on January 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

The question that hasn't been asked or answered is----

How is this going to effect Blago's 2016 presidential campaign? He just got lots of free airtime, and he may even be out of jail in time to run.

Posted by: Tim H on January 30, 2009 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

For the first time on C-Span I had the opportunity to watch all fifty nine Illinois Senators give their five minute speech about impeachment. It was peculiar in the sense that many Senators claimed that this was not a criminal issue. Over and over the same said this is not a criminal issue. However the Banner at the bottom of the C-Span picture clearly titles this as Criminal charges in the sense Blagojevich is charged with selling the Senator seat.

Ironically some Senators noted that there still are those in this chamber that are holding over from the Ryan administration that are guilty and should get up and leave. That was an incredible statement to note at an impeachment of the governor there are still those who are in this chamber guilty of corruption, yet voting to condemn the Governor. The poor analysis, blowing right by this in the Media shows its bias in one direction here and that is to get rid of Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has been condemned for something that has not been proven. Abuse in reverse here the Senate Legislature gave an extraordinary display of it own ability to abuse. My own eureka moment occurs as I think about stuff.

Very puzzling the media totally ignore what for me looked like the Representive’s and Senate legislature appeared in concert of Malfeasance in this issue to denote outright sabotage which causes intentional damage to Blagojevich. What really sounded to me is legislative body actually saw a moment of power and took it. Very contrary to what it appears as a good body people are really obnoxious animals that are difficult to deal with. Actually imbedded long time down staters that do not want to be governed, they want to Govern. More over this legislature appears to burn out every Governor for the last several decades.

Blagojevich pointed out that Illinois had an independent inspector. Which made me wonder if there were any reports? Did any of the Senate initiate memorandums as to or similar in the sense the would point out “Hay Governor what your doing sounds illegal”. Hopefully some of this will come out in the Federal Trial now that we have a new administration. For me Blagojevich flushed out a long time problem one could hear over and over about corruption in Illinois. Well the Governor can not do all that stuff on his own. Especially five articles of impeachment that had original Senate approval but are using the same as articles of abuse. That is nuts.


Besides sounding rational very focused, and transcendental, I could see why he was the Governor. Blagojevich came across in a very personable directive fashion. Blagojevich was expert in his presentation. Compared to the Legislature, no one in the Chamber White or Black is up to his level of talent and expert opinion, actually for me Blagojevich rates with those in Congress, Blagojevich would be a real maverick as a Senator. For me, this simple, those in the real power in this legislature was likely tired of being yelled at by the Governor and got rid of him.

Posted by: Megalomania on January 30, 2009 at 5:49 AM | PERMALINK

At trial, Blago's defense team will subpoena every tapped phone conversation and every other bit of evidence that Fitzgerald has, and scour the whole record for "exculpatory" information. Posted by: MatthewRMarler

Dunce. He doesn't have to subpoena them; he gets them as part of the discovery process without having to do anything.

Posted by: DJ on January 30, 2009 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, Fitzgerald requested and got a postponement. He hasn't even got an indictment yet.
Posted by: MatthewRMarler

You seem to have forgotten that Tony Rezko's sentencing has been delayed, because he has been ratting out Blagojevich to the feds. Forgotten...or is that your typical stupidity coming to the forefront again?

Posted by: DJ on January 30, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Marler doesn't deal in concrete facts, DJ. His gig is spreading around vague expressions of wonderment designed solely to sow self-doubt in the minds of the less informed. It's not unlike Blago's MO on this media tour, when you think of it. Just as Blago's been peeing in the jury pool with mischaracterizations of circumstances, Marler hopes to tinkle on anything perceived as good news or correct action by his political opposites--even when that correct action is the arrest and removal of one of our own party.

Anyway, high fiving you that Blago's out of here. Now he can "rebuild his life," as he put it last night, until it falls apart again in April.

Posted by: shortstop on January 30, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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