Who would have believed that Illinois could be in the mess it is in? A Governor who tried to sell a senate seat. An appointed Senator that appears to have tried to buy said seat.
I can tell you who isn’t surprised: the people of Illinois.
We might be surprised at the brazenness of the scandal, but not that it goes on in Illinois politics.
We are the home of “vote early and vote often.” Mob ties and voter fraud delivered Illinois to JFK in the 60’s. You can’t fill a pothole in this State without giving somebody a bribe or a kickback. It is the way the State works.
For those of you not acquainted with Illinois politics, you might be interested to know that Blago is our second CONSECUTIVE Governor to be brought up on Federal charges of corruption. We’ll have to wait and see if we can go 2 for 2 on the convicted portion of our program. Oh, and Blago, even I know that when you are doing something illegal YOU USE CODE WORDS! If you are going to be a crook, be a smart one. You make all Midwesterners look bad.
As for Burris, oh Roland. What kind of man takes a tainted Senate appointment? Apparently the same type of man who would try to raise campaign funds for an indicted Governor while “expressing his interest” in the vacant seat. He will hold on to power with the white-knuckled grasp of a dying man on a life jacket. Shame on you.
One of the best examples of corrupt politics here is the case of Cook County Board President. For 12 years it was held by John Stroger. Before the last primary election he suffered a massive stroke. Everyone involved pretended that it was mild, and he would serve as pres again if elected. After he won the primary, they suddenly realised that he wouldn’t recover. What a shocker. Now, most places you would think the runner up from the primary would get the electoral nod. But this is Illinois, where patronage is everything. Those lapping at the Stroger milk couldn’t risk losing their succor. So they put his son on the ballot. Someone with no meaningful experience in charge of one of the largest counties in the country! “Nonsense!” you say. People here said “Hey, that Stroger name is on the hospital. He must be cool.” and he gets elected. He has, needless to say, been a disappointment.
The news stories about State workers being paid to hang out at the pool are so common that they don’t even make the lead story anymore.
Even in a smaller suburb like mine there are numerous stories. Our village president is allowed to cut checks for $25,000 without Board approval. So he decided that to pay the overage on a contract with one of his wives friends (she was contracted to get paid around $75,000 but billed for over $200,000) he would just write a series of $25,000 checks, instead of one for $125,000. He says that he did nothing wrong. I say “HOW THE HELL DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!”
Most people think that Barak Obama’s meteoric rise to the top was a happy combination of luck and timing. I think he knew that he had to get the f*#% outta Illinois before this State ruined his chances of doing anything meaningful. People say that he didn’t accomplish much as a Senator in the State legislature. I think he was just putting his shoulder down and plowing through the muck.
So why Illinois?
Some say that it is the legacy of the mob controlling the city.
I say that it is that Illinois has the LAZIEST voters in the country. We let two of the most disfunctional party systems in the country throw two creepy, lousy candidates at us and we pick the one we think is the least likely to be an ass. What a way to run a State. We are so used to our voices not being heard that we are convinced we don’t have them anymore.
No more excuses. If we want an honest government we will have to look past the attack ads, listen to more than just the sound bites and take an active role in the electoral process here. If we can’t count on the politicians, then they can no longer count on us. Only fear of honest people will make them honest in turn.
Heck, this is the home of Honest Abe, the city of Broad Shoulders, and a town that will support a baseball team that hasn’t won a World Series in over 100 years. We can do anything.