The last line of the 12-page Department of Justice press release announcing the arrest reminds us that "The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Good luck finding 12 people in Illinois who can meet that requirement.
The top issue of concern for our state at this moment is the filling of the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama on November 16. Technically, the governor is still the governor, and still has the power to appoint someone to fill that seat. He would not try to pull that fast one, would he? I don't know; if he really is a sociopath like some people say, then he'd be able to rationalize anything.
Yesterday, Jesse Jackson Jr. adamantly denied any knowledge of Blagojevich's "pay to play" shenanigans. He wanted--and still wants--the Senate job, he says; but he didn't pursue it in an unethical way.
I can't find a transcript of Jackson's speech yesterday--but I think I heard him say that if Blago offered him the appointment even now, he would take it. I could be wrong. I hope I am--because no one, not even Mother Teresa, should accept an appointment from our disgraced governor at this point. Well, she wasn't an Illinois resident, and she's dead, but even if she were, and wasn't, she shouldn't. If you know what I mean.
(Make your voice heard about the next Illinois senator by voting in the poll to the right!)
"At the end of the day, the top priority for our office is to serve the people," the governor said yesterday. The best way for Governor Blago to serve the people of Illinois is to resign. He should fight the charges if he wants, and continue to maintain his innocence--but his resignation would allow our state to move forward. Even if we lived on the Planet Oh Yeah, Sure and he were innocent, he could not possibly argue that it is in the best interest of the State of Illinois for him to remain as governor with all of this scandal and suspicion swirling around him.
Here, I'll even write his resignation statement for him:
I am not a crook. I did not break the law. I did not compromise the integrity of the process of appointing a Senator. The charges are based on parts of conversations taken out of context. I am committed to the well-being and welfare of this great State, and I would never put self-interest ahead of the public good.Yeah, I don't think it's going to happen, either.
However, in order to allow our state government to function as effectively as possible in these economically challenging times, and in order to restore the people's confidence in the government and leadership of this state, I am stepping down from the office of governor. This is in no way an admission of guilt, but rather a clear indication that I am willing to set aside my own self-interest for the public good.
Oh, and BTW, a lot of folks are getting hot about all the F-bombs the governor dropped in those taped conversations. That doesn't bother me. Sometimes you just gotta blow off some steam in the privacy of your own home, away from the kids, by tossing off a few "swears", as my kids call them. I totally get that.
But the content of those taped conversations? I'd say the governor has got a lot of 'splainin' to do.