Monday, December 15, 2008

Blagojevich Watch: Rahm Starts the Rear-Door Rumba; Althouse on the AG’s Brief; Illinois Republicans Gear Up; & Strolling Down Memory Lane with Royko

I heard some chatter on local talk radio here in Chicago that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief-of-staff, has complained about the intense media pressure about conversations he may have had with Gov. Blagojevich about Obama’s senate seat, and that he might not show up for work at Obama’s headquarters. Republicans might say, welcome to our world, dealing with a hostile press. Expect Rahm to come and go via the rear-door rumba, a quick-step shuffle in and out of the back door that Chicago pols know so well. Gateway Pundit has more on this (here).

Law Professor Ann Althouse returns to this story having read Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s brief to the Illinois Supreme Court asking it to remove Blagojevich by judicial fiat. She finds that “[t]he legal argument in the brief is embarrassingly inadequate.” (link)

Meanwhile, Illinois Republicans gear up a publicity campaign calling for Obama’s seat to be filled via a special election rather than by gubernatorial appointment. Out in front are Illinois Republican Party chair Andy McKenna and Republican DuPage County (Chicago western suburbs) State's Attorney Joe Birkett, who adds the anti-corruption, law enforcement touch. A video of a local TV news report on this that includes comments from both of them is up on the party’s web site (here).

And finally, to better understand the mindset of the locals on this latest dust-up, let us once again stroll down memory lane with Chicagoan Mike Royko, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning life-long observer of the local political scene. Here he is in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978 writing about some long-forgotten political scandal, of the kind that seem to erupt every few weeks around here:

The federal indictment of 29 city electrical inspectors has so unnerved [Chicago] Mayor Michael Bilandic that he says he is going to send letters to businessmen telling them that they don’t have to pay bribes to city employees. This is probably one of the few cities in America in which a mayor would think people have to be officially informed that they aren’t required to pay bribes. But I expect the letter to accomplish nothing more than to touch off confusion. Upon receiving the letter, many Chicagoans will probably write him back and ask: “Dear Mayor: If I don’t give the bribe to the inspector, who gets it?”
Confusing indeed to us Chicagoans -- if we’re not supposed to give the bribe to the inspector, who do we give it to?

Chicago columnist Dennis Byrne writes that “Illinois Has Long Been For Sale” at his weblog The Barbershop (here).

UPDATE: There's an excellent, detailed commentary (link) on the weakness of AG Madigan's legal brief and motion papers to the Illinois Supreme Court by Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson at his weblog Legal Insurrection, titled "Illinois Attorney General Gets a Grade of "C-", in which he writes: "the papers are very, very weak. Embarrassingly weak."

John M Greco