Guilty By Association?... The Obama-Blagojevich Connections

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 12/14/2008 - 3:14am.

Stunts that some politicians pull never cease to amaze.  The latest, of course, is Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempt to trade President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat for personal gain. As governor, he's the one who names a replacement.

Authorities arrested Blagojevich (bluh-GOY'-uh-vich) last week after bugging his phones and taping his talk about selling the seat for an ambassadorship, a top job in a union or private foundation, a Cabinet post or some annual six-figure campaign contributions.

The audacity -- and the vulgar terms he used to describe his corrupt quest and Obama -- is simply startling, even in this day. And, Blagojevich believes he didn't do anything wrong, so a lengthy trial is probably on the way.

In spite of the commotion Blagojevich has created, he still has the power to appoint, although Illinois legislators are racing to schedule a special election that would end-run that process. And Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wouldn't want to welcome anyone Blagojevich sent to Washington anyway.

What's really worrisome, though, is the Obama connection.

With his inauguration just a little more than a month away, Obama already is staring down what could become a major scandal -- even though prosecutors have accused him of no wrongdoing. The GOP and talk radio aren't going to let this one go.

On the one hand, Obama has made it clear he and Blagojevich ran in different Democratic circles. In the tapped telephone conversations, Blagojevich said that even if he named someone the Obama people wanted, "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. So (expletive) them." And, Obama has called for Blagojevich to resign.

However, Chicago businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, convicted in June of a $7 million kickback operation, gave his support and lots of money to both Obama and Blagojevich. Obama is close to Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, a big Blagojevich legislative buddy. Michael Strautmanis, now an Obama aide, once worked for Blagojevich. Obama friend and transition team member Valerie Jarrett, soon to become a senior adviser, is called in court documents "Candidate 1" -- the person he wanted to have the Senate seat before giving her the White House post.

And, Obama is very careful to parse his words: "I had no contact with the governor or his office, and so we were not -- I was not aware of what was happening," he said last week.

Sure, Obama steered clear, but what about Democratic Illinois congressman and incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel? The president-elect wouldn't say, instead begging off with not willing to comment about an ongoing investigation.

Lots of smoke here, distracting and potentially dangerous smoke, and Obama has barely begun any efforts to turn this country around. We surely didn't need this.

We'll all see where it goes, and with luck Obama will escape with only a scratch or two. But this mess certainly does little to convince an already jaded and skeptical public that politicians are honest, altruistic, trustworthy and heedful people who put their country before themselves.

SaginawNews - December 13, 2008 - source MLive 

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 12/14/2008 - 3:14am.