I think we need to make a change to our license plates. Currently it says, "Illinois -- Land of Lincoln." I propose the next plates say, "Illinois -- Land of Corrupt Governors."
I don't normally write about politics, but right now CNN is running a live news conference with US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (our hero and one of People's Sexiest Men) announcing the indictment of our Governor Rod Blagojevich. You'd think this would shock those of us who live in Illinois, but it doesn't. He has been under a cloud of suspicion for years. Whenever there was an indictment of someone around him, there would be discussion of Public Official A. We all knew Public Official A was the governor, but the investigation just went on and on and on.
Law enforcement officials arrested him in his home this morning. They rolled him out of bed and into jail. Why? It turns our our governor was (allegedly) trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat President-elect Barack Obama recently vacated. Law enforcement was so worried that he was about to corrupt the U.S. Senate with a seat sold to the highest bidder that they arrested him before he could close the sale.
I know we should be outraged, but this is Illinois. The last decent governor we had was Jim Edgar. He was a man of integrity and even if you were not a Republican, you respected him. Even the governor before Edgar, Jim Thompson left office with his reputation in tack. You never heard any corruption charges against either of them.
Now Governor Blago looks like he is headed for jail, just like our previous Governor. The good news is this is not a partisan issue. Governor Blago is a Democrat, while Governor Ryan is a Republican. This is what happens when your ego gets so big that you forget your constitutional duty.
The sad thing is that the rest of our current State elected officials seem really, really solid. Our Lt. Governor (Pat Quin) is a stand-up guy who works tirelessly for the people. Our Attorney General (Lisa Madigan) has really proven herself to be an outstanding official. Our Treasurer (Alexi Giannoulias) has done a good job protecting our state's money. Our Secretary of State (Jesse White) has a long history of public service. These parts of our State government are good. Unfortunately, their good work is overshadowed by the fact that is our governors seem to be idiots.
You might not understand why we know our U.S. Attorney General by name, but if you lived here you would. We all are grateful that Patrick Fitzgerald is in Illinois. We hope he'll stick around for a long, long time to keep trying to clean up our politics and prevent this stuff from happening over and over again.