Saturday, January 31, 2009

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich thrown out of office

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich was thrown out of office Thursday without a single lawmaker coming to his defense, brought down by a government-for-sale scandal that stretched from Chicago to Capitol Hill and turned the foul-mouthed politician into a national punchline.

Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed by impeachment.

After a four-day trial, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 to convict him of abuse of power, automatically ousting the second-term Democrat. In a second, identical vote, lawmakers further barred Blagojevich from ever holding public office in the state again.

"He failed the test of character. He is beneath the dignity of the state of Illinois. He is no longer worthy to be our governor," said Sen. Matt Murphy, a Republican from suburban Chicago.

Blagojevich's troubles are not over. Federal prosecutors are drawing up an indictment against him on corruption charges.

Click here for more.

Yeah, fuck this guy. Good riddance. Throw him in jail, too. Hangin's too good for him. Seriously. Blagojevich is scum. He's made a mockery of everything we as Americans hold dear.

Of course, the story doesn't end with nailing the now former Illinois governor. It didn't start with him, either. Power attracts money, which is definitely a kind of power in and of itself, making money one of democracy's fatal flaws, a flaw our people haven't done nearly enough to safeguard against. It's easy to hate Blagojevich because he was so old school with his corruption. That is, he was so up front, so quid pro quo, so brazen about using political power to enrich himself that his bad guy status is utterly obvious. What's not so obvious is that most of our elected leaders are on the take. Sure, most of them don't hide sacks of money in the freezer, but they hand out favors all the time in return for massive campaign contributions, or lucrative jobs once they've left politics. Many of them, like former House Whip Tom DeLay, ride so close to the legal limit that they cross the line, but all of them are influenced by money in one way or another.

That is, the power of money has made our democracy a total sham. Like I said, this doesn't end with Blagojevich. It's not even the beginning of the end. Our political system is totally corrupt.

This is no time to celebrate.