Category Archive 'Rod Bagojevich'

11 Jan 2010

Reid’s Opponents Play the Race Card

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All sorts of people, several I’d never have suspected of being quite so racially sensitive, gleefully piled onto Harry Reid yesterday taking advantage of the scandalous revelation in Game Change, a new book about the 2008 presidential election contest, that Reid had expressed the opinion that Obama was electable because he was “light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

“Negro” was suddenly discovered to be a vulgar and nasty pejorative, off limits in respectable society. And GOP Chairman (and opportunistic African-American) Michael Steele promptly called for Reid’s resignation from his Senate leadership post on grounds of PC taboo violation.

David Horowitz had the decency to express disgust.

[It’s] hard not to bathe in schadenfreude at the hammering [Harry Reid] is now getting over an interview he gave to John Heilemann and Mark Haperin during 2008 for their new book… But it is also hard not to be disgusted by the politically correct sanctimony of Republicans like the RNC’s Michael Steele who are acting as if they just caught the Nevada senator in a Klan costume.

“Negro” is the new n-word now? And is it not true that Obama’s light skin color and the half-white background that produced it was indeed an electoral asset? And didn’t the ability to talk like a brother as well as a Harvard grad sharpen the President’s ineffable hipness and post-racial appeal? Can the lexicon of the politically taboo have become such a fat book as this?

Instead of standing back with folded arms and watch the Democrats wallow in the squalor they created by forcing Reid to grovel for redemption from Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, the execrable Cong. Barbara Lee, and other race hustlers, Steele has demanded a leading role in this nasty spectacle. He says that the situation Reid created is similar to the one in 2002 when Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott was forced out of his leadership position for praising Strom Thurmond. Right. No doubt about it. But it was also the Republicans, cowering under the Democrats ludicrous charges of “racism,” who caved and forced Lott out. And while there is obviously a gleeful temptation to require Reid and the Democrats to endure the same standards now that took Lott down back then, Steele and the Republicans are taking the shabby way out again. If they don’t know that getting leverage by calling an opponent a racist (a term like “McCarthyite,” which no longer describes a pathology but is no more than a way of stigmatizing someone on the cheap) debases our political culture, who does? How many times have they been hit over the head with this charge? How can they not know that this is a game in which Republicans might score a run now and then but can never win. Nobody beats the Democrats at race-baiting!

By pointedly not doing to Reid what was done to Lott and making it into one of those “teachable moments” our President likes to talk about, Steele could have done the country a service. Instead, he supported a status quo in our politics in which the race card is always the first one dealt and always from the bottom of the deck.

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Patterico favors proceeding with the un-PC hunt, pointing out how often Harry Reid has played this game himself.

My own favorite example of Reid playing the race card occurred this fall, when Reid compared congressional Republican opposition to healthcare to the 19th-century debate over slavery.

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You can’t resign from being a former president, so William Jefferson Clinton will have to be allowed to get away with revealing his true racial perspective to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, remarking upon the incongruity of the upstart Obama challenging Mrs. Clinton for the democrat party nomination by noting: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”

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Disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (who resigned after trying to sell Obama’s senate seat) chimed in, too, with the following comparison.

I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.”

31 Dec 2008

Don’t Underestimate Blagojevich

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The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass advises. Playing the race card was a brilliant stroke which instantly put the national democrat party on the defensive.

Since he was federally charged with trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been wrongly caricatured as some kind of hapless jester prancing on the edge of madness.

Jesters hold rattles with a likeness of their heads on the end of a stick, and they hop off into a corner, prattling to themselves. That’s what jesters do.

Jesters don’t pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Democrat in the U.S. Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging.

Yet that’s what Blagojevich—aided by former Black Panther-turned-Daley-machine-functionary Bobby Rush—did at that stupendous news conference in Chicago on Tuesday. That’s when the governor appointed Democratic empty suit Roland Burris, an African-American, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Obama.

“Please don’t allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man,” said Blagojevich.

It was a brazen move, and a smart one, and though the race card was ugly, there was no passion in it. There was no lunacy involved.

“This is not about Roland, this is about Rod,” said savvy political consultant Thom Serafin when I called him while watching the circus of the politically bizarre. Serafin correctly predicted weeks ago that it would be Burris, shortly after Blagojevich was arrested and most other Senate hopefuls pulled out lest they be infected by the governor’s dilemma.

“This is Rod telling the political class that he’s still active, that he’s still around, that he’s still the governor,” Serafin said. “And how do they deny Roland Burris? They can’t.”

Read the whole thing.

15 Dec 2008

Tribune Blows Federal Case

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the Chicago Tribune isn’t only financially bankrupt. It’s ethically bankrupt as well.

The Tribune’s selfish decision to break the Blagojevich corruption story early probably prevented the FBI from catching the actual sale of a Senate seat (to Jesse Jackson, Jr.) on tape, losing federal authorities half the bust.

Conventional wisdom holds that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ordered the FBI to arrest Rod Blagojevich before sunrise Tuesday in order to stop a crime from being committed. That would have been the sale of the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

But the opposite is true: Members of Fitzgerald’s team are livid the scheme didn’t advance, at least for a little longer, according to some people close to Fitzgerald’s office. Why? Because had the plot unfolded, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday’s dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was not dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich’s alleged “crime spree.” It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation and a careful reading of the FBI’s affidavit in the case.

At Fitzgerald’s request, the paper had been holding back a story since October detailing how a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with his office.

Gerould Kern, the Tribune’s editor, said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. “In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens,” he said.

But editors decided to publish the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune’s own cooperation deal with the prosecutor.

Read the whole thing.

13 Dec 2008

Schadenfreude Time

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Jonah Goldberg gleefully deconstructs all the shades of meaning in the Blagojevich indictment.

There are so many things to love about the Rod Blagojevich scandal it’s hard to know where to begin.

Wait. That’s not right. There are so many bleeping things to love about this bleeping-bleep Blagojevich scandal it’s hard to know where to begin.

For starters, the folks at the Chicago Tribune are Christmas Pony Happy because Blago tried to strong-arm the Trib’s owners to fire members of the editorial board. Instead, Trib editors will get to have a big tailgate party outside Blago’s cell window.

Newspaper people love that sort of thing. …

For partisans, there’s the schadenfreude that comes with watching the Democrats — self-proclaimed anti-corruption zealots in recent years — explain why Blagojevich shouldn’t be lumped in with Congressmen Charlie Rangel (cut himself sweetheart deals), William Jefferson ($90,000 in his freezer) and Tim Mahoney (tried to bribe an aide he was sleeping with not to sue him — and you thought romance was dead) as part of a new Democratic “culture of corruption” storyline.

There’s the enormous I-should-have-had-a-V8! moment as the mainstream press collectively thwacks itself in the forehead, realizing it blew it again. The New York Times — which, according to Wall Street analysts, is weeks from holding editorial-board meetings in a refrigerator box — created the journalistic equivalent of CSI-Wasilla to study every follicle and fiber in Sarah Palin’s background, all the while treating Obama’s Chicago like one of those fairy-tale lands depicted in posters that adorn little girls’ bedroom walls.

Read the whole thing.

12 Dec 2008

Emanuel Talked With Blagojevich

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Obama shakes Blagojevich’s hand, December 2, 2008

According to Fox News, Obama’s future White House Chief of Staff, former congressman Rahm Emanuel, had several conversations with Blagojevich and his chief of staff related to the appointment of a replacement to Barack Obama’s forsaken Senate seat… and the FBI has those conversations on tape.

1:56 video

Ouch! No wonder Rahm Emanuel yesterday refused to take reporters’ questions.

Barack Obama has not even been sworn in yet, and the partisan dam that blocked media inquiry into his ties to corrupt Illinois politics has already started to burst. The signs of an imminent press feeding frenzy at Obama’s expense are visible.

12 Dec 2008

Obama Senate Seat Offered on Ebay

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Macon News:

For sale: One Senate seat. Goes to the highest BLEEP-ing bidder. Seller’s positive feedback rating: since Tuesday, just about zero.

Outraged by the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, more than a dozen people have put the state’s vacant Senate seat up for bid on eBay.

The offers popped up on the Internet auction site after Blagojevich was accused Tuesday of trying to benefit financially from his power to appoint a Senate replacement to President-elect Barack Obama.

Daniel Finnegan, a student at the University of Georgia, said he started an auction because he’s “extremely upset about what happened” and wants to voice his opinion.

Finnegan says he’s glad others posted similar auctions so the accusations against Blagojevich don’t go unnoticed.

University of Illinois student Matt Platino says he posted his entry to be funny, but also because he’s upset with Blagojevich. …

And folks are bidding, some jokingly. One posting (“Used Illinois Senate seat, all wood and leather, willing to deal on this one! Please be advised I will be away from my office for a while…”), had 78 bids and was going for $99,999,999.00 Wednesday morning.

Literal Senate seats have been eliminated as of this morning, but Internet domains named ObamaSenateSeat, newspaper clippings, and numerous joke references can be found.

10 Dec 2008

Chicago’s Reeking Politics

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John Kass is gloating in the Tribune at seeing some of the local sleaze facing a cleanup.

Now that Gov. Dead Meat has been arrested at his home and charged with selling Illinois by the pound—and Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat by the slice—let’s just savor the aroma.

I love the smell of meat over coals in the morning.

It smells like . . . victory.

The people of Illinois needed some good news and they got it. Former Republican Gov. George Ryan is in prison, and the arrest of his successor, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, surely means that the Illinois Combine that runs this state can stop with the rumors that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald will be leaving town.

And, as Blagojevich most likely prepares to be Ryan’s bunkmate, let’s not forget the scores of other politicos, of all parties, who’ve gone down on corruption charges—including some of Mayor Richard Daley’s guys who helped rebuild that Democratic machine the mayor says doesn’t exist.

At a news conference in the federal building in Chicago, authorities were asked about Illinois corruption.

“If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” said Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office. …

Though Illinois isn’t surprised—this is after all the home of the Chicago Way—the national media must be shocked.

They’ve been clinging to the ridiculous notion that Chicago is Camelot for months now, cleaving to the idea with the willfulness of stubborn children. It must help them see Obama as some pristine creature, perhaps a gentle faun of a magic forest, unstained by our grubby politics, a bedtime story for grown-ups who insist upon fairy tales. But now the national media may finally be forced to confront reality.

Barack Obama, of course, is an intimate associate of Illinois’ current governor, shared the same political contributors (Antoin Rezko), and was, like him, a loyal servant of the Daley Machine.

09 Dec 2008

Illinois Governor Arrested For Trying To Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

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Patrick Fitzgerald described Governor Rod Blagojevich’s conduct as “a new low.”

The affidavit contends Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions. It also says Blagojevich talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees.

The affidavit also quotes Blagojevich as saying “I want to make money” in one conversation.

Blagojevich and John Harris, the governor’s chief of staff, were each charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.

The FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich also sought promises of campaign cash, as well as a cabinet post or ambassadorship in exchange for his Senate choice.

Blagojevich is accused of saying on November 3 that if he is not going to get anything of value for the open seat, then he would appoint himself to the post.

“I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain,” the affidavit quotes the governor as saying.

He noted becoming a U.S. senator might remake his image for a possible presidential run in 2016, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit quotes Blagojevich telling an adviser later that day that a Senate seat “is a [expletive] valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

In a conversation with Harris on November 4, the day of the election, Blagojevich is alleged to have compared his situation to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder.

On November 5, Blagojevich allegedly told an adviser, “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”

On November 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an adviser, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is “financially” hurting, the affidavit states.

Harris allegedly said that they were considering what would help the “financial security” of the Blagojevich family.

The complaint alleges that the governor stated, “I want to make money,” adding later that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

The charges also state that in a conversation with Harris on November 11, Blagojevich said he knew that President-elect Obama wanted a specific candidate for the open Senate seat but added “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.”

Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney, said the charges “allege that Blagojevich put a ‘for sale’ sign on the naming of a United States Senator.”

Actual indictment.


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