Monday, December 15, 2008

EXTRA: Because it would make sense and would be practical, it won’t happen

The Chicago Tribune used its website Monday morning to play up a brief Associated Press report indicating that Gov. Rod Blagojevich would be willing to consider approving a bill by the Illinois Legislature that gives them the authority to pick a replacement for Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

To use the verbiage of the Associated Press, Blagojevich “hasn’t ruled out signing” and “might be willing to sign” a bill that could, in theory, be approved by the Legislature some time this week.

IF BLAGOJEVICH WERE to act immediately, this change in Illinois law (which gives the governor sole authority to pick replacement officials for the state) could be in effect by week’s end.

Of course, the unspoken aspect of this concession in gubernatorial authority is that the Legislature would be expected to shift its attention to other matters, and give up all this talk of impeachment or pressuring him to resign.

Blagojevich would remain as governor while the criminal charges in U.S. District Court are pending.

Since I believe the important thing for state government is to get past this (and let the federal courts address the issue, that is where real punishment will come), this does not strike me as being unreasonable. Some will argue that having a governor under indictment will stifle his ability to get anything done because no one will respect him.

BUT THINK OF how the Legislature has operated in the past two years. Very few people were willing to show Blagojevich any respect in public. So what would be the real difference? Besides, Blagojevich would hardly be the first public official to have an indictment hanging over his head while trying to do his job for two more years.

However, a part of me is overly realistic enough to know that too many people on the Statehouse Scene (and the City Hall scene and the County Board scene and in the Land of DuPage and in all those county courthouses scattered across rural Illinois) want Blagojevich’s blood, and they wanted it last week.

Anything that gives him even the slightest concession of respect will be seen as grossly inappropriate. I guess they prefer the confusion we have now, where the people can’t agree on whether we’re impeaching the guy, pressuring him to resign, or merely taking away his authority to pick a U.S. senator.

That is why we have our current stalemate in Springfield.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Figure for yourself ( what this is worth.

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