Memo saying what many are thinking

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”- Captain Renault, Casablanca (1942).

Illinois was rocked by the release of a 14-page memo prepared by House Speaker Mike Madigan to advise legislative on how to deal with the issue of impeaching Gov. Blagojevich. Or at least a lot of people pretended they were rocked.

The extensive memo was one of the best summaries of the Governor’s missteps over the past six years, some political and some (of course) legally actionable. But the fact that such a memo exists, or that impeachment is a regular topic of conversation at the highest levels of state government, shouldn’t surprise many Illinoisans.

A lot of time has been devoted to picking the memo apart for typos, inconsistencies and other errors that support the theory that the memo leak was an “intentional mistake” that aimed to deflect the inevitable criticism from the speaker. The sections that have received the most attention are the ones directing candidates to deny Madigan’s involvement in this memo and to obfuscate on questions surrounding the gubernatorial ambitions of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the speaker’s daughter.

But let’s stop being shocked that an Illinois politician has been caught acting like an Illinois politician.

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In this poisonous legislative environment where lawmakers and the governor can barely agree to have regular contact and federal investigators are closing in on Blagojevich, citizens should frankly be more worried if impeachment wasn’t being discussed.

While Madigan shares some blame for the environment in Springfield, the greater enemy to responsible progress continues to be the governor. And if not for the blockage of the recall amendment by Senate president Emil Jones, voters could’ve made up their own minds.

Voters should be angry that we’ve gotten to the point where impeachment sounds reasonable, not the act itself.