Will Blagojevich Receive Presidential Pardon?

Illinois Governor Blagojevich, facing several criminal charges arising out of his attempt to sell the US Senate Seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder, held a brief press conference Friday. 

He was defiant and refused to admit any wrongdoing.  His statement can be summarized in three emphatic assertions:

  • He will not resign
  • He will “fight, fight, fight” impeachment or prosecution
  • He has done nothing wrong and broken no laws.

This spectacle provides a glimpse into “The Chicago Way” of politics – corrupt and self-serving office holders with little concern for their responsibilities to the people who elected them.  This is the cauldron from which Barack Obama emerged four years ago, to begin his first term in the US Senate.  Had he not been so adored by the fawning media, voters from outside Illinois might have been exposed to some Chicago Way background.  But the media rarely mentioned Obama’s background.  Instead they promoted his Utopian promises of “change we can believe in.”

It appears that Blagojevech is angling for a Presidential pardon.  Normally, the notion that the newly inaugurated President would invite an avalanche of scorn and criticism by issuing a pardon to this obviously corrupt politician, would be preposterous.

But the Governor showed Obama a sample of the what the next few months could look like:

  • “Blago” can hijack the national media and embarass Obama and the Democrats any time he wants, just by stepping in front of the cameras and shooting off his mouth.
  • Preparation for his trial will take at least a year.  The state legislature, run by Democrats who want nothing more than to remove and silence Blago, has begun preliminary impeachment hearings, but it appears the process could take a several months.
  • The more time the national media spend camped out in Chicago the more likely they are to stumble onto something from the recent past that more directly touches Obama.
  • A public trial is a deck of wild cards.  There could be testimony that alleges Obama or his people did something illegal, bringing on more media scrutiny.
  • There is no replacement Senator yet and there could be a long delay in appointing someone, which means one less Democrat vote in the US Senate.

On the other hand, President Obama could trade a pardon for Blago’s resignation and permanent silence.   He could justify the pardon as necessary to remove the cloud over the empty Senate Seat, so someone can be appointed to do the nation’s business.   And of course the good people of Obama’s home state of Illinois deserve a fresh start with a new Governor.

A pardon would bring on a blast of negative publicity, lasting a few days untill the media herd ran to the next big story.  Then it would be over.

1 Comment so far

  1. aaa again on December 25th, 2008

    Heard by a fly on the wall:

    Obama: I’ve condusted a complete investigation and there is no wrongdoing……

    Blago: I’ll sqeal like a pig about what Rahm and I talked about……and you DO talk to Rahm from time to time, right, Barry?

    Obama: Uh,….when I announce your pardon should I wear the blue or the grey suit?