When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

13 December 2008

A seat in hell for Blago

A Chicago alderman once complained to me about modern reform hiring laws -- the line was so good, I borrowed it, unembellished, for a novel -- "What's this world coming to when a guy can get a job for a stranger more easily than he can for his brother in law?"

But even those who live by this kind of code are appalled by the allegations against Mr. Blagojevich. [...] But unsubtly putting a senate seat up for personal auction, as if it were a piece of family jewelry, is arrogance that makes even hardened pols shudder.

Yet that's not even the item that angers me most. Among U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's bill of particulars is the charge that Gov. Blagojevich sought to rescind a state payment of $8 million to Children's Memorial Hospital if their CEO failed to organize a $50,000 contribution to the governor.

Many shameless politicians would send free turkeys to a children's hospital. The publicity is good, and it might help them sleep at night. But this governor was willing to stint on their care if a hospital official didn't oblige him with cash.

When I was in high school, a group of friends and I would pass out toys and candy to children in the hospital wards there. It was both the saddest and sweetest event of the season, and the thought that a public official would dare diminish the care of sick, innocent children over a campaign contribution doesn't just deserve an indictment. I think it reserves that politician a seat in Hell.
Chicagoan Scott Simon, writing in The Wall Street Journal: Even Chicago's Crooks are Appalled by Blagojevich (13 Dec 2008)

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