Scandal and Innuendo

11 12 2008

Predictably enough, right wingers frustrated with previous failed attempts to tar President-elect Obama with the exploits of one time Illinois money man Tony Rezko during the presidential campaign have tried to use rumor and innuendo to implicate the hope machine in the recent pay-to-play scandal starring Gov. Rod Blagojevich (see picture).

Case in point, a recent Wall Street Journal Editorial, said:

Among the remarkable facts of the recent Presidential election is that Barack Obama emerged from this political culture virtually untainted — and with Chicago’s political mores all but unexamined by the press. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said yesterday there is no evidence that Mr. Obama knew about the Governor’s allegedly crooked ambitions. However, as a Chicago-area pol himself, Mr. Obama did help Mr. Blagojevich plot his first statehouse victory in 2002.

Now, I don’t  pretend to know the first thing about Chicago politics nor do I know much about Mr. Blagojevich’s political associates other than what has been mentioned so far in the news. But is does seem to me that if a newspaper is going to continue the guilt by association trope, it would have something better than ‘ if they campaign together, therefore they are co-defendants.’  Not only should this be generally, but particularly when the evidence for such a claim is non-existent thus far, and there is every reason to be believe that Blagojevich had no genuine affinity for the President-elect.

The Illinois governor reportedly called the President-elect a “motherf***er,” according to the wiretaps, scoffed at Obama’s top choice to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat Valerie Jarrett saying “but ‘they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

Disappointed that Obama was not willing to engage him, Blagojevich said “I’m just not giving [the Senate seat] up for [expletive] nothing.” In explaining his rationale to a senior adviser the Illinois governor said that a Senate seat is “a [expletive] valuable thing.” (Read the entire criminal complaint here.)

That’s not exactly what people would refer to as positive feedback among two figures that would presumably engaging in a quid pro quo.

On a somewhat related note, contrary to what Obama said at a recent press conference,  I am inclined to believe that the President-elect knew that the feds were going to charge Blago days before  they made headline news. I mean as the president-elect how can this go down in your homestate and not know about it?  While on Meet the Press this past Sunday, Barack Obama was asked by Tom Brokaw whether or not he wanted to see Caroline Kennedy fill New York’s U.S. Senate being vacated by Hillary Clinton.

The President-elect declined to comment other than stating, “the last thing I want to do is get involved in New York politics. I’ve got enough trouble in terms of Illinois (state) politics.”

Umm…yeah, I would say so.

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