Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Illinois Democrats Let Blago Retain Power To Appoint New Senator

Just business as usual in Chicago, but I have to admit even I'm a little surprised by how blatant this has become:

Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives postponed stripping Governor Rod Blagojevich’s power to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama that prosecutors say Blagojevich tried to sell.

The governor, a Chicago Democrat, retains authority to appoint Obama’s successor while the House pursues an impeachment process that may last weeks. Democratic lawmakers led by House Speaker Michael Madigan dropped plans late yesterday to schedule a special election to fill the post after failing to agree in a closed-door meeting...

By the way, that would be the State Attorney General Lisa Madigan's father...just after the attorney general asked the legislature to declare Blagojevitch incapable of fulfilling his duties and to be temporarily removed from office.

Democrats hold a iron-clad majority in the state legislature 67-51, and with them stonewalling, there's no way to keep Blagojevitch's hands off that senate seat. Theoretically, he could even name himself.

What the Dems were afraid of if they took Blagojevitch's hands off the cookie jar is a special election for the seat..which they had no intention of allowing, since that means they might lose the seat to a Republican.

As for the president-elect, Obama has changed his story yet again, from the obvious lie of 'no contact' with Blagojevitch to 'no inappropriate contact.'

And Rahm Emanuel, of course, is avoiding the press and keeping his mouth shut.

Obama's lil' fib was the kind of lie you tell when you expect the media to let you get away with it. Trouble is, they have news cycles to fill and Obama is the story now.And will consequently get a lot more attention.

It almost makes me long for the days of Mister Bill. Now there was someone who knew how to lie and make it seem actually plausible, and if it wasn't for a bit of Mr. Bill's dried mojo fluid on a blue dress, he probably would have pulled it off...

What Obama was trying to do, of course, is head things off before they got started. After all, we know now that Rahm Emanuel discussed the seat with Blago and that David Axelrod didn't 'misspeak'.

So, what did they discuss? What exactly was Rahm's proposal? What were the counter offers and the back and forth? Did Obama or Emanuel at any time say something like 'hey we're not in legal territory" pull out and inform the feds?

And even more interesting - how did Blago know Obama could be approached safely? Did Blago remember the old days with Tony Rezco and Nahdmi Auchi and figure Obama might be in the market?

We may yet find out.

FTR, according to Rasmussen, 45% think it 'likely or 'very likely' that Obama and his team are in this up to their necks.


Anonymous said...

You're 'a little surprised by how blatant this has become', ay? Oh, my, obviously you have never lived in Chicago! This was completely predictable. What the Dems want to do is remove Blago The Grinch & allow the Lt Gov to ascend to the governorship (another Dem, but, mind, an honest one, & elected separately). The Lt Gov could then appoint a Dem to the seat. Blago has no chance of political survival : his popular support is in the single digits in an overwhelmingly Democratic state ; both the Ill Attorney General Lisa Madigan & her father, Ill House Speaker Michael Madigan, hate Blago (so does the Ill Senate Pres) ; & the Lt Gov has refused to speak to Blago for over 2 years. (The Ill 1st Lady, Mrs Blago, has not spoken to her father, a powerful Chicago alderman, in years. The father hates the son-in-law Gov. It's like a soap opera.) & Obama, notwithstanding some of your suspicions in your earlier columns, hates him & had refused to deal with him till just after the election. Re your earlier columns, I have to correct an impression which you seem to have developed in following this story regarding Blago & Obama. If memory serve me, Obama refused to support Blago in the Dem primaries in 2002, &, in fact, worked actively against the Elvis-worshipping politician. After Blago won the Dem primary, the candidate which Obama had supported persuaded Obama to officially endorse Blago. It was an extremely & noticeably reluctant, grudging endorsement (like a certain, unsuccessful Republican pres candidate in the 1976 primaries). I don't watch political convention theatre Presidential nominee coronations, but according to reliable sources, Blago was the one prominent Ill politician blacklisted from the Dem convention centre stage by Obama. You'll notice all of these political family-dynasties (you noted 1, the Madigans). There are also the Strogers : the Crook County, erm, Cook County President Stroger, Jr, inherited his office from his father, Stroger, Sr, upon the latter's death. There are the Jacksons, father & son. ( I suspect the father more than the son in re this matter.) Everyone knows about the Mayor Daleys, father & son, though, in fairness, it has to be said that there was a gap of about a dozen years, & about 5 or 6 interlopers in the mayor's chair, before the voters recognised the rightful claimant to the throne. (It also has to be said that, though autocratic, the 2 Daleys have worked very hard for Chicago & have kept themselves at their arms' lengths from real troublemakers. They never have been accused of personal greed. It could be said that Chicago politics is atavistic & classical-style patron-client in style & form.) You broach Rezco's name again, but EVERYONE in Chicago & Illinois in public life for the past 20 years had met & dealt with him at some point. He was a permanent fixture. He contributed to the political campaigns of at least the last 3 governors (both parties), & probably their opponents. He was such an emperor of valuable real estate that it would have been impossible for anyone dealing with land not to have run into him at some point. If memory serve me, when Obama graduated from law school, Rezco offered him a position at Rezco's own firm, which Obama declined. Rezco's public housing work did turn to the legal firm which Obama worked for, & Obama is noted for 6 personal hours of work re Rezco's land deals. I recall the matter of Obama buying a house & then buying a portion of an adjacent lot owned by Rezco's wife. &, obviously, when Obama entered the political arena, Rezco contributed to Obama's campaign ; however, Rezco was contributing money ($$$$$) right & left, Democratic & Republican : Rezco simply recognised that Illinois was a pure 'pay-to-play' state & reacted accordingly. As far as I can tell, Obama, vis-a-vis the Chicago political machine, was in the same position as US President Harry Truman & the Pendergast political machine in the state of Missouri. (Truman even attended the funeral of Pendergast whilst Vice President, which was enormously controversial.) In other words, you keep proving that Obama knew Rezco ,et al, but that's simply guilt by association, &, in Chicago, the world's largest village, an unavoidable association at that. What is the precise nature of the quid pro quo which you obviously suspect? As long as Blago's Senate appointment would've been another Dem, why would Obama wish to waste time with someone whom he clearly detested? I realise that you hate Obama as a reflex action, as an erk, as a bete noire, as an idee fixe, but I really think you're chasing quixotically a red herring.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Anon 8:25 AM,

Your comment seems a bit umm.. contradictory.. on a number of levels.

First of all, if Madigan Sr. detests Blago, and the AG detests Blago, why have they been so quiet about this all along? The governor's been doing this kind of thing in other areas for years, and it's common knowledge in Chicago. Now, when the feds finally bust him, they get a conscience and the governor is eee-vil?

Second, now that they've admitted what they already knew, they're unwilling to strip the governor of the power to name someone to Obama's senate seat? Puh-leeze.

They don't hate him...he's just embarrassed them by finally getting caught publicly.

Third, you're mistaken about Obama and Rahm Emanuel's long time relationship with Blagojevitch. They've been involved with him for years, and they knew the same people. Obama strongly supported him in `02 when he ran for governor, and Rahm ran his campaign.

For that matter, Patti BlagoJevitch's relationship with Rezco and his land deals in Chicago - one of which was to help Obama buy his mansiuon at a deep discount - raises some interesting questions.

And my point remains - obviously, an offer WAS made to Obama via Rahm Emanuel...why else would Blago refer to his political ally as an m..f who didn't want to give anything for the seat?

Sooo...did Rahm and Obama inform the feds, or did they just quietly pull out of th ebidding? What did they know and when did they know it? That's the million dollar question.

And this is rather unique in American politics, BTW. I don't recall a major bust of Truman's political allies in KC that actuallt implicated him...or one that surfaced before he was elected VP. The media did a little better job then of vetting candidates for our highest offices.

FWIW, I don't 'hate' Obama. I do think that he's one of the most unqualified people ever to be elected, that he has highly questionable advisers and associations, that he ran a crooked Chi town-style campaign on a national level, and that a number of his ideas are naive and dangerous.

Of course, number four applied to the other guy who ran as well, but there you are.

That said, I've resolved to be more patriotic and classy than Democrats were in 2000 and 2004. We do, after all, have one president at a time and I hope he does well...especially after the last eight years.

You, on the other hand, appear to be willing to suspend disbelief and carry Obama's water reflexively no matter what.

You're not alone by any means, but I continue to be a little surprised by it.


Anonymous said...

Huh? AG Lisa Madigan infuriated Blago by launching a full state investigation into Blago's questionable dealings in early 2005. She advised state legislators to boycott a special-legislation session 'event' (I think it was some sort of special conference) which Blago had organised. This also infuriated Blago. She pointedly refused to endorse Blago's 2006 re-election run. 'It's common knowledge in Chicago' (your words) that Lisa Madigan hated Blago. Her state investigation into Blago resulted in a special request by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald that she suspend the state-level investigation owing to possible harm to the federal investigation. It took me a long time to find a source on the 'web' (is it 'web' or 'internet'?), but here goes : SPRINGFIELD, Ill, July 1, 2006 -- By CHRISTOPHER WILLS, Associated Press Writer, Excerpts are paragraphs 5 & 6 :(start of quote) 'In the letter, Fitzgerald asks Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to halt her investigations into the Blagojevich administration because they might interfere with the federal probe. Madigan released the letter to the public with Fitzgerald's approval, said Madigan spokeswoman Melissa Merz, and Madigan has agreed to drop her investigations. Merz would not comment further.' (end of quote) ( www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/01/ap/politics/mainD8IISTH00.shtml ) 2dly, I'd remind you that AG Madigan filed a special, unprecedented motion with the Ill Supreme Court on 12 Dec 2008 to remove or suspend the Ill Governor per an obscure constitutional provision relating to gubernatorial inability. The AG's public, open, overt, 2005 investigation, you will note, precedes the 2006 gubernatorial race. Apropos of 2002, I'm quite sure that you have neglected the 2002 party primaries wherein Obama supported an opponent of Blago. (You skip directly to the general election campaign.) Also, I think that Blago refused to support Obama's 2004 Senate bid. You ask 'why else would Blago refer to his political ally as (expletive deleted) who didn't want to give anything for the seat?' : wouldn't the natural inference & conclusion be that Obama, acquainted with Blago's antics, parried the matter & subject in advance by instructing Rahm Emanuel to cut off any conversation which even seemed to be leading to a request by Blago for anything? I'm sure that Emanuel volunteered his suggestions for the Senate seat ; he might even have forwarded what he knew re Obama's musings on the subject. I see no evidence of anything else. In fact, that swearing would indicate that Blago was not being listened to. The best piece of evidence of the unreliability of Blago's blusterings is that nonsensical boasting re the possibility of getting a cabinet post or ambassadorship -- that idiot bragger? Or his nonsense hypothesis re appointing himself to the Senate seat & becoming a Presidential candidate in 2016. You're using such a delusional individual's boasts & rants & ravings as the basis of your argument? My main fear is that you are being Clintoned & Reaganed : the critics of those 2 presidents had a way of being derailed from potentially valuable lines of enquiry by red herrings regarding interesting associations with interesting & often unsavoury characters. PS, the Pendergast gang was implicated in various voting irregularities till at least as late as the infamous 1960 Presidential election. Pendergast himself ended up in Leavenworth before Truman became Vice President. Truman left patronage decisions to Pendergast. -- Best Regards

Anonymous said...

I think I neglected to mention that on election night in 1934 (the election which brought Truman to the US Senate), some people were murdered in Pendergast-gang violence.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Anonymous,
I find it interesting that you accuse me of jumping to to conclusions when it appears to me that you are doing so yourself!

And ignoring the obvious Rezco-Obama-Blagojevitch connection to which I included a link.

That association goes way back.

You also assume that AG Madigan's investigation was intended to be thorough or even useful..in fact, as you yourself admit,she was asked to curtail it so as not to interfere with Fitzgerald's far more thorough and efficient probe.

As far as Obama not being implicated, the feds have Rahm on tape in 21 separate calls to Blago discussing the seat.Are you seriously suggesting that Obama's old friend and pick for C-O-S would make those calls without Obama's OK? Or that Blagojevitch cussing out his long term political ally and saying Obama didn't want to give anything for the seat are just ' delusional ravings?'

And why would Blago risk approaching Obama if they hadn't done business before?

It's obvious that Blagojevitch made a pitch to Obama via Emanuel, things went back and forth and Blago priced himself out of the market.

So then the question remains - did they inform the authorities about Blago soliciting a bribe or did they just keep quiet?

What did they know and when did they know it? And if they did keep quiet,was it because B lago was privy to a few facts about th eChosen one they'd rather didn't surface just now?


Anonymous said...

To ff, greets! I have read your links, &, in preparation for this letter, I re-read them. Your 1st link says Blago ran a gambling operation on Chicago's North or West Side in the 1980s (Newsalert). No mention of Obama. No mention of Rezko. The 2d link mentions that Obama, a Democrat, formally endorsed the Democratic Party's candidate for Ill governor & advised him in the General Election (Obama opposed him in the primaries.) It then mentions that Obama, the Democratic junior Senator from Ill, endorsed the incumbent Democratic Governor in 2006. It finally mentions something germane, relevant, & pertinent to our discussion en passant : the Obama house & land. That's 16 words en passant. (The house & land deals were explicitly mentioned & noted in the 1st letter, supra.) The remainder of the article is apropos of & vis-a-vis Blago & Rezko : Blago's family & Rezko's family this, Blago's family & Rezko's family that, Blago & Rezko this, Blago & Rezko that, Rezko & Blago this, Rezko & Blago that. All very interesting, but it has nothing to do with Obama.(Campaignspot.NationalReview -- by the way, that article links to another which mentions that Rezko was the co-chairman of a President Bush campaign fundraiser : Chicago Tribune, October 12, 2006 : Profile : Rezko's life a story of pizza and politics) The 3d link mentions Obama once, start of quote, 'authority to pick President-elect Barack Obama's replacement in the US Senate', end of quote. The rest of the article is apropos of & vis-a-vis the Ill 1st 'Lady', Mrs Blago (Patti Blagojevich) & her shenanigans & trickeries & nonsense. I was honestly reduced to laughter by your notion & theory that Ill Attorney General Madigan's investigation into Blago in 2005 was some sort of mark of friendship! & that the revelation of a fed probe into Blago during the midst of the 2006 General Election for Governor was some sort of mark of friendship! That left me in fits of hysterical laughter! Her pointed, explicit refusal to endorse Blago for re-election in 2006 : was this an act of friendship? You keep proving that Obama knew Rezko ; you keep proving that Obama knew Blagojevich ; you keep proving that Rezko & Blago knew each other -- but who, on Earth, pray tell, denies that they all knew each other? What was this quid pro quo which you obviously believe in? What was the NAME OF THE PERSON which you believe that Obama wished to unofficially appoint to the Senate covertly via puppet Gov Blago? What was the SPECIFIC KICKBACK which you allege that Obama offered in return? (I am glad to note that you are now of the opinion that Fitzgerald's investigation is a 'thorough and efficient probe', in your own words.) --Best Regards

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Anonymous,
My point ( which I'm afraid you missed) is that Blago has a long history of these types of activities , and one Obama could hardly have been unfamiliar with.

It might be of interest to you that while Obama and Rahm Emanuel actively supported Blago, David Axelrod refused to go anywhere near him ...why do you think that was?

As for Madigan's 'investigation', it's pretty obvious that it was designed to cover her butt and show she was `doing something' but not to actually obtain evidence and prosecute Blago..that's shown by Fitzgerald asking them to back off. The Feds and state authorities frequently coordinate these types of investigations - when it's warranted and beneficial.They normally only ask for a curtailment if the state investigation is interfering or obstructive. I think you know that.

I have no idea what or whom Obama and Blago were negotiating over and it doesn't matter in the least.

Obama and his team ( especially Obama, as an attorney and an officer of the court) had a LEGAL DUTY to inform the authorities about an attempt to solicit a bribe...which they obviously did not.

Again, the million dollar question is WHY, and I speculate on the reason. What did they know and when did they know it?

You also don't address another simple question - why would Blago risk going to Obama with an illegal proposition unless they'd done business before?

FTR, I find the difference between Blago attempting to sell a senate seat and things like Obama's deal with Rezco for those shoddy housing projects and the under market price purchase of his mansion, Michelle Obama having her salary at the Chicago hospital as head of 'Comunity Relations' to over $300,000 right after Obama became a senator and that hospital's subsequent receipt of over a million dollars in earmarks from Obama and a few other items I could mention to be only a matter of degree.

You are effectively suggesting that Obama has been a sweet smelling saint in the middle of a sewer.

I beg to differ.


Freedom Fighter said...

BTW, I missed a word. The sentence in the above reply should have read: " .. Michelle Obama having her salary at the Chicago hospital as head of 'Comunity Relations' tripled to over $300,000 right after Obama became a senator and that hospital's subsequent receipt of over a million dollars in earmarks from Obama and a few other items I could mention to be only a matter of degree."