Too bad that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has to go to prison alone. Not that some of the snakes that were a part of his corruption aren't going. I'm talking about the voters. It was clear after his first term that Blago was not the man to clean up the mess left by the other convicted former Gov. George Ryan.
Yet, a slight majority voters--many of whom criticized Republican Ryan's criminal conduct-- went ahead and voted for Blagojevich anyway. Some might still have been genuinely and naively convinced that he was the reformer, he claimed to be. But others chose to be blind. They voted for him because they--well--always voted for Democrats. Or they were blinded by their own ideology or the ads by Personal PAC that his Republican opponent would return women to the back alleys for their abortions.
Hang your heads, Illinois voters. You were complicit in Blagojevich's criminality.
It seemed to be a viewpoint reflected by federal judge James Zagel when he said in sentencing Blagojevich: “It reminds voters of the maxim, the American people usually get precisely the government that they deserve.”
Amen to that.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar seemed to have a different take. He said, “The people have had enough. They’ve had enough of this defendant. They’ve had enough of those who are corrupt like him. A message must be sent. ….They should have the highest expectations that their elected leaders will honor that faith the people put in them.”
Schar might be a bit over-optimistic. I hope not. But I suspect that Zagel could have given Blago 100 years and the Chicago and Illinois grafters still wouldn't be deterred, either deluding themselves like the former governor that they aren't really doing anything wrong or illegal, that they'll never be caught or that they deserve the boodle because it goes with the job, don't you know?
But Illinois voters are another matter. What excuse can they give for continuing to vote for crooks like Blagojevich?