Friday, December 12, 2008
Now here's my question on the Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich scandal. The Governor has done some very nasty things and is on the verge of impeachment. Probably heading the list right now is his threat to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama to the highest bidder, but this is by no means all the evil he has perpetrated. The list is quite extensive. However,the senate seat issue is such a hot button that the debate rages about how to decide who gets it now that Blagojevich has been totally discredited. Under normal circumstances the Governor would be the legally empowered person to decide the successor of a vacated senate seat.
So what to do? Who gets the seat? There are five or six--maybe more--wannabes clamoring for it. One suggestion is to have a special election and let the people of Illinois decide. That way nobody can be accused of any monkey business. Here's where it gets complicated for me. The citizens of Illinois are the very people who elected Blagojevich in the first place. Did I say "TWICE"? Not only that but in the early 1970s Otto Kerner, a former governor and federal judge, was convicted and sent to prison. While governor, Kerner acquired shares in a race track association and then helped its owner secure favorable dates for races.
More recently there is the sad case of George Ryan whose 35-year political career was tarnished by scandal. Investigations into widespread corruption during his administration led to his retirement from politics in 2003 and federal corruption convictions in 2006. Ryan entered federal prison on November 7, 2007, to begin serving a sentence of six years and six months. He is reportedly lobbying President Bush for a pardon as we speak.
A third governor to go to prison was Dan Walker. After his term, Walker was convicted of fraud involving a failing savings and loan.
And then there are all the corrupt politicans who escaped prison but remain forever known for their dastardly deeds. Richard J. Daley himself was one. Another was a former Illinois secretary of state, Paul Powell. At Powell’s death, the New York Times reported, the governor actually placed guards outside the official’s office to keep staff from removing documents. Then Powell’s executor found $800,000 in shoe boxes in Powell’s closet. Wonder where that came from?
So my question is do we put it to the voters of Illinois who elected all these corrupt officials in the first place to decide who gets the senate seat? How is that a good idea? It might be a better idea to just toss their names in a hat and let me pick one. Or you. Or anybody but an Illinois voter.
Posted by Meredith at 8:44 AM