I wondered what to say about the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blogojevich. I could comment on the specifics, but plenty of pundits have done that already. What can I offer that’s different?
I’m an Illinois native—born, raised and educated in Illinois. I began my adult life there. And I’m totally not surprised by the events.
Growing up in Illinois, I came to assume corruption was just a normal way of life. We viewed Chicago and its Mayor Daley (the first) as the very definition of corruption. Chicago was in “Crook County”, we said.
Then politicians started falling. Governors (Otto Kerner, Dan Walker) and Secretary of State Paul Powell died leaving more than $800,000 in cash—much of it in shoeboxes. At his death, he was worth $3.2 million. All of this was after earning $30,000 a year in salary. Yeah, you do the math.
Then Governor George Ryan was sent to prison and Blogojevich was elected to clean things up. Guess that didn’t work out so well. Ryan and Blogojevich were elected after I was no longer eligible to vote in Illinois elections. I was too young to vote for Kerner or Walker, but they were Democrats and in those days I was a Republican.
Illinois’ longest-serving Governor, Republican James R. Thompson (who I helped elect in 1976), made his name on the Kerner prosecution and has remained indictment-free, as has his successor, what’s-his-name (I’m kidding—it’s Jim Edgar, who I was never a real fan of).
So, the FBI guy (or whatever he was) said Illinois is the most corrupt state in the USA. BFD: Corruption is our birthright. The truth is, nothing will change because no one wants it to change. If it did, we’d have to complain about the weather non-stop.
Oh yeah, one more thing; Throw the book at that son-of-a bitch. Next?