Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog-o'-jevich, or The Importance of Being Corrupt

First off, some thanks are in order. After the recent release of Frost/Nixon, I've been itching for an opportunity to use the phrase "expletive deleted". And, as if served up on a tarnished silver platter by god himself in answer to my prayers, here comes Rod Blagojevich.

As you are well aware, most states allow their governors to name a successor if one of the state's senators is elected to a higher office. Blagojevich - Blago for short - was given the privilege of naming Barack Obama's successor. He was thrilled to have this opportunity. so thrilled in fact that he described it as "[expletive deleted] golden" and, for whatever reason, a "parachute" (golden parachute?). In any case, parachutes aren't cheap, and Blago felt "giving it up for [expletive deleted] nothing" would be unwise. Incidentally, he also thinks the same former senator to whom he owes his golden opportunity, Barack Obama, is an expletive deleted.

After the news about Blago broke, the whole thing played out rather predictably. Democrats systematically tried to quarantine Blago. Republicans claimed that Obama is the real culprit (He really did talk with Blago about his senate replacement - LIAR!). Blago clung to his governorship like the expletive deleted he is, but at this point it looks like he will soon be Governor Blago no more. Outside Illinois, Blago went from being unknown to a pariah, soon to be forgotten. A month from now, saying "Blagojevich" will again prompt people to say "bless you".

But what does it all mean? First off, as Rosa Brooks astutely noted in today's L.A. Times, a political party is most susceptible to corruption when it takes power. But let's also take a moment to be thankful (cue the sappy music) that we live in a country in which patronage is the exception, and that there are still plenty of officials who would assign senate seats for expletive deleted nothing, like they should. C'mon people, we live in the country where infidelity gets you impeached. In some countries, infidelity gets you elected.

Here's hoping that Obama won't fall prey to Blago-style corruption. Or Clinton-style corruption. Or especially Bush-style corruption - I'd like to hold on to my constitution for a few more years.

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