Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blagojevich Will Fight On, & More to Come About Obama, Rahm, the Tribune, and Fitzgerald

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, under federal corruption charges, will not go quietly into that good night. Instead, yesterday he vowed to fight, fight, fight. From the Chicago Tribune (link):

His political career in tatters and Illinois government in limbo, a defiant and unapologetic Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he is innocent of the federal corruption charges leveled against him, will fight to clear his name and won't resign."I am here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing," Blagojevich said. "I intend to stay on the job, and I will fight this thing every step of the way. I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong.".... Speaking under extraordinary circumstances, the governor delivered a response that was vintage Blagojevich: a bombastic attack on his political enemies, including a famous quote. He portrayed himself as a "lonely" victim of "powerful forces" and "political enemies" seeking to dislodge him from his post while he had the most important ally of all—the truth.... Blagojevich vowed to answer the allegations "in a court of law, and when I do, I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated." Blagojevich also used his appearance to recite portions of Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If," something he has done frequently to reporters in the past when facing intense criticism.
Law professor William A. Jacobson has been following and commenting (very well) on developments at his excellent weblog Legal Insurrection, and has this to say (link): "I have been an advocate for Bagojevich doing just what he is doing, making the government prove its case promptly and in public. If Blagojevich is guilty, the facts should be laid bare for all the world to see as soon as possible; if Blagojevich is innocent, then he deserves quick public vindication." However, Jacobson, an appreciator of Winston Churchill (as am I), finds Balgojevich's allusion to the great man "unforgivable".

Michelle Malkin is following this story (link). Some of her readers have inquiring minds and want to know more. "Feebiebabe" wonders about the role played by Obama and the Chicago Tribune:
"Chicago Trib has always been in the tank for Obama. Rahm et al start contacting Blago about the Senate seat and suggest a name. Trib finds out that Blago is being wiretapped (as per investigation that has been going on for how long, Obama?). Jarrett withdraws her name and is given place in Obama’s administration. Obama stops talking about his replacement all of a sudden. Did the Trib tip off Obama?
And reader "txvet2" has thoughts about federal prosecutor Fitzgerald, who has some history (link):

Since no deal was actually struck or consummated, it would seem to me that they’re going to have a hard time convicting him of anything serious. Fitz packed it in way early, given that he continued to pursue the Bush Administration for two years after he knew who had leaked Valerie Plame’s name, and didn’t quit until he had managed to create a process crime for Libby. Not so much the bulldog when it comes to sticking it to a Democrat. Think maybe he’s trying to hold onto his job in the new administration?
Did Fitzgerald get cold feet when his longstanding investigation of Blagojevich start to ensnare Obama through Emanuel, leading him to quickly pull the trigger on a criminal complaint before things went any further? Perhaps one day we'll find out.

As for Blagojevich hanging on to his office -- Democrats usually don't resign in scandals (see Clinton, William; Jefferson, "Freezer"; Frank, Barney) -- that's more of a Republican thing. All this makes for great political theater, and we can only sit back and enjoy while it plays out. In time, we'll learn more about the roles in this played by Obama, Emanuel, and the Chicago Tribune. And, undoubtedly, about Fitzgerald's as well.

Veteran observer of the Illinois political scene Russ Stewart has more here.

John M Greco