Blago's political theater again today, as the cameras of the country were turned on Illinois at noon. The occasion was the impeached governor's swearing in the new Senate session of his jurors. Tribune:
After Cullerton was sworn in, Blagojevich gave a brief speech. He asked the Senate to, like him, say a prayer for President-elect Barack Obama's success and offered a nod to Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday next month. Quoting Lincoln, he asked them to work on the state's problems "with malice toward none and charity for all."
Blagojevich did not mention his upcoming impeachment trial. The governor then left the chamber through its back entrance and did not stop to take reporters' questions.
We reached the beginnings of deep freeze territory today. I still hear birds singing outside in the sunshine. Amazing.
High today, minus 2. It's not often we go below zero around here, but this is the season. The Tribune solicits survival advice from frigid Fargo. The year I was up in my northern Wisconsin hometown it hit 60 below on Super Bowl Sunday. I guess it was fortunate it wasn't Green Bay's year. The radio gave advice if your car broke down--layer up with bear grease and newspapers.
A kid in Indiana stuck his tongue on a light pole on a dare. No kidding. Each generation has to make its own mistakes, as they say.
In other news, our new Senator, Roland Burris, goes to Washington. He says he is "naturally" going to follow the lead of Dick Durbin and others. Naturally. The One is already there.
The Politico says Dems are "cool" on seating their newest fellow Dem in the Senate. Really?
--crossposted at BackyardConservative
He keeps throwing out Rahmbo's name, and is poised for a national media blitz tomorrow. Governor Threat.
Maureen Dowd called him stork-like in his jogger outfit.
Where's Blago? Four of the bleepin' tapes will be played today at his impeachment trial in Springfield. NY Times covers the trial in Springfield even as Blago attempts to charm the MSM in NYC:
For years, Mr. Blagojevich had national political aspirations, perhaps even as a presidential contender, those who have worked with him say. Some here doubted his chances at that level; he is all Chicago: the flat accent; the hard-to-pronounce name from the neighborhoods where he grew up the son of immigrant, working-class parents; the Chicago alderman father-in-law with powerful political connections.(Yeah, too bad, even the name Barry Obamski might have worked better.)
Mother Teresa rose from the grave and batted at Blago on Leno last night. The Sun Times chooses Custer as Blago's persona of the day, as he makes his last stand on the Illinois Senate floor. Mark Brown offers him a ride after he's impeached, maybe with a stop at the rarely-used Governor's mansion for a few tchotchkes of office. Or, WLS has a listener with a white Bronco and a ladder who has volunteered to drive the governor back and grab a few of the infamous tollway signs on the way. Better yet, he could be chauffered by one of his former political bedfellows. Advocates for the mentally ill are offended--calling the governor crazy or cuckoo demeans them. On the Tribune website, reader suggestions on what he should say today--'Bleep you!'. A pro-Blago demonstrator outside his home, whom Patti gently asks to go home:
Theresa Gajdos, 81, carried a sign that on one side read "All Mothers Should Thank Governor" and, on the flip side, "If Nixon Could Be Pardoned So Can Be Pardoned Blagojevich Too."
Blago to O: Fire Rahm.The governor reminds everyone of the genesis of one of his impeachable offenses.
It happened minutes ago.
The Illinois Senate voted unanimously to convict former Governor Rod Blagojevich and will now vote on the proposition of whether he should be banned from seeking public office in the state of Illinois.
OK, this was not unexpected, but I thought there might be a minority vote against just to give it the veneer that there was an actual debate about it. Commentators took special pains to say this was a political rather than a legal process, but hey--the legal process IS a political process.
Had Blagojevich been more popular in the state, say as popular as Bill Clinton was in 1999, he'd still have his job. As it turned out, he was so unpopular, and his crimes so egregious, that it was politically impossible to vote against impeachment.
Democrats of course hope to heap the sins of Chicago politics on his head and send him into the wilderness, cursed by God and man, but at this point its wishful thinking.
Rod is going to be around for a while.
Rod hit the airwaves, and by any reasonable standard, he did well. He does not come off as Tony Soprano, and that undoubtedly did him some good. We can expect to see a lot more of him, largely because the media sees his controversy as a great investment.
Blagojevich's motivations to cooperate are both practical and personal. He must be seething with anger, and feeling the need to lash out, but more importantly, he needs to do what he can to ameliorate his legal situation.
That means leaking stuff he knows.
Now it gets interesting.
So Illinois' new Sen. Roland Tombstone Burris suddenly realized he might be on tape, as the feds wanted to talk to him--so he decides to sort of set the record straight...in a quiet affidavit filed with the gubernatorial impeachment committee after the fact. State Sen. Barbara Flynn Currie's story has changed as well--how is it that she received the affidavit on Feb. 5th but we're only hearing about it this weekend? We read about it in the Sun Times.
Democrats in Illinois reneged on holding a special election after Blago was arrested, because they were afraid they might lose. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was so worried our Democrat governor might sell Barack
Politicians lie. Its a job requirement. Its what they lie about that's important.
Roland Burris lied to the Illinois legislative committee about whether anyone acting on behalf of former Illinois Rod Blagojevich asked him for a "contribution" in exchange for his Senate appointment, because he knew it was a deal breaker. Jesse Jackson Jr. lost his shot at the Senate seat because of the mere allegation that he was Senate candidate No. 5.
Democrats were fiercely opposed to Burris' appointment, but legally there was nothing they could do about it. Now their worst fears have come true--Burris smells like skunk.
His shot at getting elected to the seat were slim, but better than the near certainty of seeing a Republican elected. This revelation makes election an even dimmer prospect, and Illinois Republicans certainly know it. Unless the economy comes roaring back next year, the seat is gone.
Roland Burris must have had the desk next to Obama at Chicago School of Politics. You know the, "I don't know the guy--he's just a guy from the neighhood--I thought he'd been rehabilitated--I shared an office with him" truth onion. You just have to keep peeling to get to the heart of the matter.
Burris has gone from saying he had no contact with Blagojevich bagmen and never received a solicitation for a 'contribution', to meeting with the former governor's brother and being asked for a campaign donation, to now acknowledging that he actively sought to get the money and buy the seat.
Though Burris insists he never raised money for Blagojevich while the governor was considering whom to appoint to the seat President Barack Obama vacated, the revelation that he had attempted to do so is likely to increase calls for Burris' resignation and an investigation into whether he committed perjury before the panel. Illinois Democrats have forwarded documents related to Burris' testimony to a county prosecutor for review.
Burris would not answer questions Tuesday in Peoria about his attempts to raise funds for Blagojevich, but said he didn't do anything wrong and encouraged officials to look into the matter.
"I welcome the opportunity to go before any and all investigative bodies, including those referred by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Senate ethics committee to answer any questions they have," he told reporters Tuesday.
Well, you know what's coming next of course--a cancelled check to the Blagojevich campaign fund.
This guy is so hosed. I suspect he will be asked and then forced to resign, so the real question is what happens after that. Do the Democrats sidestep what will surely be a loud and insistent call for a special election, or will they simply move to appoint Lisa Madigan?
Its not an easy question to answer. There is bound to be a political maelstrom surrounding the appointment and a lot of angry people no matter what happens. The winner has to run for election next year anyways, and its unlikely that an appointed Democrat can realistically wipe their hands of this mess. It might make better sense to actually fight an election while Obama is still popular support.
Patterico notes the similarity to Monty Python's Holy Grail:
BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
Former Illinois First Lady Pottymouth Patti Blagojevich, formerly known as Pattycake Patti, has been subpoenaed. For your viewing pleasure, a lovely pix of Rod and Patti, standing by the garbage cans. Tribune:
Patti Blagojevich has been served with a federal subpoena seeking documents, notes or e-mails related to people or entities ranging from former gubernatorial fund raisers to her real estate dealings.Well...she may use some colorful language, if she hasn't already...to him. And what else might come out of her mouth? Can you say Rezko? Can you say sweetheart deal? Is our president's heart going Pit-a-Pat? Probably not, but this guy was a big enabler and did benefit.
Attorney Raymond Pijon told the Chicago Sun-Times the wife of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is cooperating with federal investigators. However, Pijon said that does not mean she will flip on her husband.
--crossposted at BackyardConservative