My two cents on Blago

By Paul Cruse III

At this point, talking about the walking-disgrace that is Blago, is a bit of a cliche. You probably know that Blago was arrested on charges of corruption when trying to, allegedly, sell the Senate seat left vacant by President Obama.

And because everyone has said something about it, I figure I might as well put in my “two cents” too.

First, let me put in my “COPS” disclaimer: All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. With that being said, if it is proven that everything the FBI is charging Blagojevich with turns out to be true, then our governor has severely tainted American politics at a time when most Americans were starting to trust their government again.

For those of you not up to date, let me explain what I mean by “everything.”

According to the Washington Post, Rod Blagojevich and his staff have been arrested for conspiracy and bribery by the FBI. Conspiracy to do what, you ask?

According to the FBI, Blagojevich was trying to cash in on Obama’s election to the presidency, and no, I don’t mean by selling more trendy Obama T-shirts.

When Senators “move-on” (such as getting elected to a higher office or dying), the governor of that state gets to pick a new senator to fill the old senator’s spot until the next election.

Some think that this spot should be given to next best candidate.

But like most appointed seats, it usually goes to an old friend, loyal staffer or a guy the governor lost a golfing bet to.

That small level of corruption is a rather frequent occurrence in politics around the world, so it’s nothing new or nothing most people can’t stomach because at the end of the day, if the newly appointed senator is so horrible, people can always not vote for him at the next election.

But Blagojevich took this type of corruption to a whole new level.

Blagojevich was trying to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder, like an auctioneer sells cattle. And he was trying to get part of that money to be put in his campaign. The FBI claims to have wire-tap recordings of Blagojevich saying that he would try to get money up front from a particular candidate to fill Obama’s Senate seat.

As dastardly as that sounds, that’s just the beginning.

Blagojevich wasn’t happy just selling government seats. He was also trying to blackmail organizations that were receiving state funds into giving him campaign donations.

For example, Blagojevich was threatening to withhold state aid for a land-use project involving the Chicago Tribune unless they fired certain editorial writers who had been critical of him. I wonder what they could have been critical of.

Blagojevich even threatened to stop funding the building of a children’s hospital because the chief executive hadn’t contributed to his campaign.

The list of crimes the governor committed goes on and on. What is most disturbing is that this couldn’t have happened during a worse time. Whether you voted for him or not, Illinoisans have some bright side that the president is from our state.

That hasn’t happened since Ulysses S. Grant. And now our state is once again the center of news but for all the wrong reasons.

In addition, the implications that it makes about American government and politics as a whole: Americans have just now started to believe in our government again.

The world is starting to respect us for the great state that we are, but Blagojevich marred our two steps forward by having us a take a giant step back.

Thanks Rod.

And Obama had nothing to do with it … in case you were wondering.

Paul is a senior in computer and political science and spent too much time typing this because of difficulty spelling Blagojevich.