Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Not "Culture of Corruption" Now?

Funny how we've heard no media mantra of "culture of corruption".

Chicago, the city that brought you the John F. Kennedy presidency after his daddy bought votes there, has apparently always been a cesspool of political corruption.

Jonah Goldberg has some seriously funny (eh?) things to say about it in his column: A Little Blago for Everybody. I had no idea this guy was this funny...

Oh, last thing, in no way is Obama connected to any of this graft, and he in no way was influenced by the corrupt machine that made him powerful. Nope. Not a bit. Getting all his opponents in the state senate race thrown off the ballot - leaving only him - was his own idea and kind of a fluke. So don't even ask or think about it...


For the more historically minded, it's a time for nostalgia. The past comes alive as Chicago's grand tradition of corruption is sustained for another generation. As the Chicago Tribune once wrote, "corruption has been as much a part of the landscape as corn, soybeans and skyscrapers." According to the Chicago Sun-Times, as of 2006, when Blago's predecessor, George Ryan, was sent to prison for racketeering, 79 elected officials had been convicted of corruption in the past 30 years. Among the perps: 27 aldermen, 19 judges, 15 state legislators, three governors, two congressmen, one mayor, two turtledoves and a partridge in a stolen pear tree. Especially in this holiday season, it's so very important to keep traditions alive for the kids. In a sense, Blago did it for the children.

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.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., himself the son of a shakedown artist, is alleged to have offered (through a minion) a half-million bucks for Barack Obama's vacant senate seat. Jackson replaced former Rep. Mel Reynolds, who went to jail for getting jiggy with a 16-year-old campaign staffer and stayed in jail because of various fraud convictions. Reynolds, in turn, was the "reformer" who had replaced Rep. Gus Savage, the thug-congressman who groped a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire while on a "fact-finding" trip. Savage held off Reynolds' attempts to replace him for several years by claiming Reynolds was financed by "racist Jews."

Man, what isn't there to love about Chicago politics?

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