Blago Is Illinois' Own (Bleeping) Mistake

Monday, 05 Jan 2009 08:30 AM

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A governor is not a sweater you return if it doesn’t fit. Especially in this culture of instant gratification, be more careful whom you elect.

Once Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s and his wife’s uncouth phone conversations were taped by the FBI and published all over the land of Lincoln, demands for his resignation erupted — from Waukegan to Washington.

Some of those who professed startled outrage wanted him to remove himself from public office “out of respect for the people of Illinois.”

Say, what? The guy who wanted to peddle President-elect Barack Obama’s recently vacated United States Senate seat to the highest bidder is expected to have respect . . . for anything or anybody?

It brings back memories of Groucho Marx, who cracked that he wouldn’t belong to any country club that would have him as a member. Why should “Blago” (for those who can’t spell or pronounce a perfectly simple Chicago name) be expected to have any respect for voters who elected someone like him as their governor?

Given the cast of characters who often appear in elective public offices, serious students of democracy might begin to wonder whether the typical American voter is paying close enough attention to the pedigrees of candidates who present themselves for election.

America has always prided itself that anyone can grow up to be elected (fill in the blank). That naïve exaggeration is proving to be not so far-fetched after all.

If the people’s choice turns out to be a lemon — in Blago’s case, midway into his second four-year term — there are constitutional and statutory remedies available for correcting the unspeakable. Like impeachment. Or if there’s no big hurry, indictment and conviction where crimes have been committed.

Now that Illinois voters have discovered the governor they thought they wanted for more than four years turns out, all of a sudden, to be a really rotten lemon, the indulgers in instant gratification wasted no time insisting he resign . . . now, right now.

What would be so dreadful about Blago’s remaining on the job he was elected to perform, until found guilty in a court of law or impeached by the Illinois General Assembly?

If during that period, what could he do that was much worse than what he’s already been accused of doing?

Is the fellow not responsible for his own conduct? You bet he’s responsible. Whatever the penalty or reward, he should be made to pay or receive it.

What about the voters of Illinois? Are they, too, not responsible for their own conduct in twice electing him their governor? Where does their responsibility, their accountability set in? Why should not they, too, have to pay the piper or reap the glory for what they’ve done at the ballot boxes?

Rod Blagojevich is a real bleepin’ bleep, all right. But he’s Illinois voters’ bleepin’ bleep.

The kids these days, even in this culture of instant gratification, have a rather-adult saying that applies: “Live with it.”

John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com. Read John Perry's columns here.

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