Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s actions are inexcusable (the full criminal complaint can be read here). But, the harsh truth that journalists and the American people should be interested in is why Chicago politics and Illinois politics is so corrupt. And then, that interest should expand into an interest in why this national politics is so corrupt.
Much of the story has devolved into whether this will affect Barack Obama or not. The press and public are wondering if this is indeed Obama’s first scandal. The Republicans are playing the guilty by association game again and playing it like they did when William Ayers and Rev. Wright were both found to have “links” to Obama.
The Chicago press, however, has been suggesting Blagojevich is crazy and they have been doing this for quite some time.
Rachel Maddow seized on the banter circulating in the Chicago press and highlighted what was being said in a segment on her show Wednesday night.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown wrote: “The federal government’s secret tape recordings…confirm what a lot of people have been saying about him for a long time now. He’s utterly mad. Completely and totally off his rocker.”
Steve Jones over at the NBC Chicago website in a post titled “Is Blago insane?” wrote, “This isn’t a joke; it’s been serious fodder coming from close observers who see in Rod Blagojevich behavior that is often described as erratic and delusional.”
A profile in Chicago magazine prior to the scandal said, “Privately, a few people who know the governor describe him as a ‘sociopath’, and they insist they’re not using hyperbole.”
Finally, the Chicago Reader told Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times, “There are times I wonder if he has some sort of bipolar disorder.”
Perhaps, here lies the “real story.” But, are Americans willing to suggest openly that politicians might be psychopathic or sociopathic? Even the harshest critics of Bush like to stop short of calling him psychotic or sociopathic.
Consider this from Rasmussen Reports:
Fifty-nine percent (59%) say that their Governor is less ethical than most politicians. This is the first time in more than a decade of asking this question that a politician challenged on ethics has been seen as less ethical than his or her peers. Most recently, following the conviction of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, 67% of Alaska voters said Stevens was at least as ethical as his peers.
The poll makes a clear statement and shows Americans are less patient with corrupt politicians then previous years. But, all should ask what the poll means by “most politicians.” Just exactly how corrupt do the American people think “most politicians” to be?
This poll is dealing with a relativity and each person has a different perception. The naïve may suggest he is more corrupt than most politicians. The news junkies may suggest he is less corrupt than most politicians.
Americans like to think their leaders might be “saints.” Unfortunately, Americans have allowed a joke of a system to develop and crystallize and at this point, demands have to be made or else corruption is going to continue to be a regular symptom.
Smart politicians know they can manipulate and profit off of politics in ways Americans would deem unethical and so long as it can be done without being caught (which apparently Blagojevich did not know how to do), corruption will run rampant.
The statements Blagojevich made should be reported uncut. What Blagojevich said has been sanitized with bleeping and [expletive] filling in the words.