Unless politics is a mental illness Blagojevich is sane!
By Usha Nellore
Examiner Columnist 12/19/08
He saw in it the perfect opportunity to angle for a Cabinet post in the Obama administration or perhaps an ambassadorial appointment. From Jesse Jackson Jr. to Valerie Jarrett, the latter being Barack Obama's confidante and adviser, he was certain all were for sale in exchange for the appointment. At one point in time he confessed on tape that he wanted to bag himself a position in a nonprofit organization affiliated with labor unions. This, he believed, could be achieved by appointing someone to the seat favorable to the Obama camp. The unions, pleased, would grant him his Christmas wish and pull him into a $250,000 per annum job for his benevolence.
Now the pundits shake their heads and exclaim these machinations are the worst ever in the annals of political corruption and can only be explained by Blagojevich having taken leave of his senses. In an article by Susan Saulny of the New York Times, Mike Jacobs, Illinois state senator, said Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality. He said of his friend, "I am not sure he is playing with a full deck of cards." Cindy Canary of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform is quoted in the same article as saying she is trying to figure out the pathology to explain Blagojevich's actions. James Carville, Democrat and political commentator, laughs self-consciously and tells Wolf Blitzer of CNN Blagojevich's sins do not reflect our political system. In other words, Blagojevich is a rare political mutation wrought by delusions of grandeur and ambition run amok.
What nonsense! Blagojevich did not arrive at this behavior without previous experiences in the bazaar of politics. He was a state legislator in Illinois, a prosecutor and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He bought and sold a lot of favors. Businesses fed his campaign coffers in exchange for state contracts. Antoin Rezko, now in prison for fraud and bribery, collected campaign money for Blagojevich as he did for President-elect Obama.Obama endorsed Blagojevich in 2002 and again in 2006. Blagojevich endorsed Obama in 2004 after he won the Democratic nomination.
It seems someone from the Obama camp did speak to Blagojevich about this Senate appointment because the governor was apoplectic on tape that the Obama camp was unwilling to offer him anything more than gratitude for giving them the appointee they wanted. Did this contact from camp Obama bother to tell the feds that Blagojevich had an auction scheme to put Sotheby's to shame?
Suppose the feds and the Chicago Tribune editors had not been after Blagojevich for the past few years and suppose the governor had not been caught with his pants down by hard-nosed Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for Chicago. Then what would have happened? That is the right way to ponder this melodrama. Union bosses, would they have given the governor what he wanted for a Senate appointment that suited their fancy? Obama and camp, would they, in exchange for the governor's favor, have given him a position, perhaps as ambassador to Serbia, striking two fruits with one stone, appointing a man of Serbian origin to the post and banishing him to Belgrade?
If the answer to these questions is a resounding "No!" then Blagojevich is a lone lunatic in the jungle of politics tormented by a disorder robbing him of his mind. If the answer to these questions is a "maybe," then Blagojevich's only affliction is a case of one rascal nosing out all the other possible rascals in his neighborhood! Let us not insult those who struggle courageously with mental illness everyday by lumping them with Blagojevich.