29 January 2009
Blagojevich: You're All Guilty!
I'm still waiting for a complete transcript of the Illinois governor's closing statement to be posted somewhere. For now, I have to make do with stories like this one with selected quotes. Blagojevich's main argument remains that he has done nothing wrong -- never actually negotiated a "sale" of the U.S. Senate seat and neither solicited nor accepted any bribe or gift in return for it. The secondary argument with which he hopes to shame the legislators into acquitting him is his assertion that his statements amount to no more than the horse-trading that everyone else does as part of normal political business. They are things that "all of us in politics do in order to run campaigns and win elections." He is probably not wrong about this, except maybe for the "all of us" part, but his breach of decorum in being so blatant about it is probably impeachable, or at least censurable, in its own right. His is ultimately an offense against etiquette (or honor, if you choose), which may explain why he has so few defenders when otherwise his party might rally around him. Is such an offense enough to cost him his job? Practically speaking, the answer is probably yes, since I doubt he could appeal to the people to get it back if he loses it now. A certain reputation has been stamped on him that won't wash off easily. Is it fair? Perhaps not, but if fairness requires Illinois to keep him in office after all because others have gotten away with like deeds, then fairness is a poor guide to justice.