Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Poor Little Milorod? Or an unjust crumb bum who got what he deserved?

There’s one part of the Republican attacks on Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, related to the state budgetary stalemate that I find downright humorous.

BLAGOJEVICH: Victim? Or still a bum?
Many GOPers keep repeating the talking point that Madigan is a power-hungry tyrant who has gone out of his way to undermine every single person who has served as governor in the three-plus decades he has held his speakership title.

OF COURSE, THEY like to remind us of the early 1990s battles with Jim Edgar (which created overtime sessions that seemed downright historic then but now seem ever so quaint – July 19??), downplay the fact that he and George Ryan got along and even show some sympathy for Pat Quinn.

But what do they say about Rod Blagojevich?

It seems that now, under these circumstances, they’re willing to speak decently about the governor whom they impeached. Because it fits their partisan circumstances now.

As if it was because of Madigan that the mood of state government became ever so ugly; refusing to accept the authority of the first Democrat to hold the gubernatorial post in 26 years.

THAT, OF COURSE, is nonsense. At least the part about Madigan picking on Poor Little Rod.

The reality is that it was a desire by Blagojevich to assert his own authority that caused Madigan to use his legislative power to remind the governor of the fact that the executive branch is only one-third of state government, and that our government truly represents the people who elect it when the three branches work together.

MADIGAN: Who picked on whom?
Perhaps that means the real comparison is between Blagojevich and Gov. Bruce Rauner – who seems like he needs to be taught first-hand this spring about the need for cooperation.

Rauner may have won the November 2014 general election for governor, but those same voters also kept the same partisan political balance in the General Assembly that give Democrats the ability to stand up for the principles they espouse about working people and the labor unions that represent their interests.

BLAGOJEVICH GETS SOME nice talk; until Tuesday at least.

For it seems the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago finally issued its ruling in Blagojevich’s appeal – some 19 months after it was initially filed and argued before a judicial panel.

RAUNER: Blagojevich similarities?
The appeals court determined that five of the charges that Blagojevich was found guilty of cannot stand. Which has some people speculating that the 14-year prison sentence (he’s done about three years thus far) will have to be reduced.

Although I couldn’t help but notice that one-time First Lady Patti Blagojevich expressed disappointment at the decision. For it seems the charges that are no more are more minor and technical.

THE APPEALS COURT wrote in its decision that the remaining charges are severe enough to warrant the full 168-month term in a federal prison. Although the desire had been that the sentence could be reduced by enough that he would no longer be classified as such a serious threat to the public safety and might be eligible to be moved to a federal corrections facility closer to Chicago.

Perhaps he could receive the “Oxford education” that many a Chicago political personage has received at the federal facility in Oxford, Wis.?

One part of the appeals ruling caught my attention – the part that stated the use of wire fraud charges was overdone. All too often, federal indictments come across as multiple counts of wire fraud (or mail fraud) and an act that is not explicitly illegal but which someone in a prosecutor’s office did not approve.

But all of this is bound to bring out the political people who earlier this week were saying Blagojevich is a victim reverting to form and lambasting the former governor; while also speculating about what he looks like since his hair dye has long worn away and he likely now looks his age of 58!


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