09 December 2008

The Blagojevich Scandal: Time for a Constitutional Amendment

The state of Illinois is in a state of disgrace. The governor, a Democrat, has been arrested amid revelations that hint that he was going to put the U.S. Senate seat abandoned by the President-elect for sale to benefit himself. In his mind, I suspect, he was planning no more than the typical quid-pro-quo that passes for politics in many places. As he puts it, the Senate seat simply wasn't something he could let go "for nothing," especially since he wanted to secure his family's finances for the future. News like this should disabuse anyone of the notion that Democrats are the "good guys" in American politics. Feel free to think that the Republicans are worse, and because of their beliefs you're probably right. But when the logic of the American Bipolarchy dictates that you have no choice but to support the other strongest or next-worst party, it guarantees corruption of the sort alleged in Illinois.

In a case like this, there's an obvious remedy to prevent repeats in the future. Someone should draft a constitutional amendment requiring all states to call elections to fill Senatorial vacancies. Ratification of such an amendment would immediately take some corrupting power from the hands of a Blagojevich, and it would save Gov. Paterson in my own state of New York from temptation as he decides how to replace Senator Clinton. If there's any reason not to do this, I'd like to hear it. The Senate has been supposed to be a popular assembly ever since the Constitution was amended to take elections out of the state legislatures and into the people's hands. Allowing governors to retain the power of replacement is a vestige of an obsolete system, and something not all governors can be trusted with. So if the people care, let them do something about it.


hobbyfan said...

At least Illinois doesn't yet have an actress making a bid for the Senate.

The Crime Think Collective said...

I agree with you, but I would go further and say that all states ought to amend their constitutions so that any elected official caught doing what Blagojevich was doing goes to prison for life. The only way put the lid on political corruption is make the penalty so severe that any criminally minded person will stay out of politics.

Quite frankly, considering the damning evidence in this case, the people of Illinois ought to feel righteously justified in dragging the creep out of his jail cell and lynching him.

hobbyfan said...

Word up to that, CTC. The man's a throwback sending Illinois politics back 80 years at least.