Matt Hardwick (matthardwick) wrote,
Matt Hardwick
matthardwick

Soundbite Technique

Of course the good government crowd is aghast (over the developing Gov. Rod Blagojevich scandal). “I was speechless and sickened,” wails Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. “In all of the millions of indictments I’ve read over the last years, I can’t remember anything as vile as this.” Another reformer moans about “the damage to the state,. It’s going to take a long time to dig out.” Nonsense. This is exactly the sort of scandal Americans understand and appreciate. Good government is the province of states animated by the social democratic ethos of prim Nordics, like the Dakotas, or Washington in the Pacific Northwest. In the riper ethnic cauldrons of Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and of course New Jersey, corruption reigns in all its intricate and creative forms, In these states no politician is beyond the reach of an indictment, and this political certainty is the truest form of Americanism and the soundest check and balance against the arrogance of power.

If defended by a capable lawyer I don’t see any reason why Blago shouldn’t emerge from his ordeal with a verdict of Not Guilty from the 12 jurors. Don’t those freedoms we supposedly enjoy include the right to dream over the breakfast table or the cocktail shaker of extorting large sums of money from ambitious politicians and venal businessmen? It’s one thing to dream and another to actually grab the bundle of cash, stick it in the refrigerator and say, The senate seat is yours. Fitzgerald pounced too soon. And even if the quid pro quo is there on film, juries can be forgiving, as their indulgent scrutiny of FBI footage of John Z.Delorean and Mayor Marion Barry attest.

Similarly, what's the difference between Jesse Jackson Jr hitting up a bunch of Indian businessmen for $1 million and pledging to dump it in Blago’s political campaign chest, in return for services rendered in the form of the senate seat? If this is felonious conduct, shouldn’t 98 per cent of all elected politicians in this country be behind bars? The American political system is fuelled by campaign contributions, and corresponding quid pro quos. Politicians are elected to deliver services. They need money to get elected. The people who need services give it to them. That’s the way the system works. The Washington Post congratulates Obama for steering clear of the slime of Chicago politics, but what actually happened is that Obama moved to richer pastures. Not for him Tony Rezko’s dingy billfold, but the dignity of anticipatory bri. . . uh, campaign contributions from the Pritzkers, the Crown family, the big ethanol interests in the Midwest, the nuclear industry, Wall Street financiers, the biggest of big time money, now graterfully acknowledged in the form of Obama’s cabinet appointments. Obama raised more money than any presidential candidate in the history of American poltics, and here we are getting excited about Rod Blagojevich?



-- Alexander Cockburn, "Hail To Chicago, Beacon Of American Values", Counterpunch
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