Politics and Media Headlines 12/14/08
Rod 'I Want The Money!' Just Couldn't Wait (by Richard Reeves—yes, he’s a conservative)
[I]f I'm asked how I know about political corruption, I have a five-word answer: "I grew up in Jersey." Now young reporters will need only need one word: "Chicago!" A new generation will laugh when someone remembers Rod "I want the money!" Blagojevich… Honest folk wait until they are out of office before they cash in on books and speeches, become lobbyists, or just introduce manufacturers and bankers to the powerful politicians still in office at home and around the world. So, "I want the money!" Blogojevich is not unique, he is just crazier or stupider than most. Also, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, is smarter and tougher than most.
My knowledge of political corruption comes from having grown up in Louisiana. I felt right at home when I moved to Chicago. And let me make a point about honest politicians. One of them is Bill Clinton. He barely made any money at all until after he left office. Sometimes I wonder if that’s one of the things the Beltway insiders held against him. And then held it against Hillary.—Caro
By Chicago standards, Blagojevich isn't crazy (by John Kass, Chicago Tribune)
The governor isn't the only one in this mess. His chief of staff, John Harris, also was arrested. Before Harris worked for Dead Meat, he worked for Mayor Shortshanks at Chicago's political golden goose: O'Hare International Airport. Blagojevich "has to figure out what's best for him and his family, and the State of Illinois," the mayor said. "He will have to do the right thing." Ah, the right thing. When Harris spills—and he will, because he's not crazy either—Daley doesn't want Harris to spill on him. He wants guys to do the "right thing," which, if I may translate, means to keep their traps shut.
So listen up, you amateur psychiatrists from national cable TV land. Don't be alarmed when Chicago machine politicians act like raving lunatics. It's when they're quiet and reasonable that you've got to worry.
Rahm Emanuel talked with governor's office about who should fill Obama's Senate seat (Chicago Tribune)
Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to be White House chief of staff, had conversations with Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration about who would replace Obama in the U.S. Senate, the Tribune has learned… Emanuel, who has long been close to both Blagojevich and Obama, has refused to respond to questions about any involvement he may have had with the Blagojevich camp over the Senate pick. A spokeswoman for Emanuel also declined to comment Friday. One source confirmed that communications between Emanuel and the Blagojevich administration were captured on court-approved wiretaps.
Another source said that contact between the Obama camp and the governor's administration regarding the Senate seat began the Saturday before the Nov. 4 election, when Emanuel made a call to the cell phone of Harris. The conversation took place around the same time press reports surfaced about Emanuel being approached about taking the high-level White House post should Obama win. Emanuel delivered a list of candidates who would be "acceptable" to Obama, the source said.
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