Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blago Tells Maddow It Was a Golden Chance to Get Good Programs Passed: Is That Wrong?

I just saw Rachel Maddow's interview of Rod Blagojevich - I thought it was by far the best of the many I've seen on television the past few days.

The crux of at least one of the major issues was finally addressed in this interview. Rachel asked Blago what he meant when he said the chance to appoint a U.S. Senator was "fucking golden" (Rachel used the word "bleeping" - I try to avoid the use of the word "bleeping," whenever possible).

The inference that Federal Prosecutor Fitzpatrick and most people are making is that this was a golden opportunity for Blago to line his pocket.

But, in response to the question from Rachel, Blagojevich said it was a golden opportunity for him to get political leverage to pass legislation and get things done - such as health care - for the people of Illinois. That's way politics is played, Blagojevich said.

After the interview, Rachel smiled and said she thought she might have gotten Blago to admit some guilt on this point on the interview. Her next guest, former Federal Prosecutor Scott Mendeloff, thought not (though he clearly thinks Blago is culpable on other issues).

I was glad to hear Mendeloff say this, because it's pretty much what I was thinking when I saw the interview. If I were a governor, wouldn't I want to do everything I could on behalf of the people in my state? If groups of supporters came to me and said, please appoint this or that person, would I be wrong to ask them what their views were on various issues which I thought were important for the state? I would still, in the end, appoint the person I thought would make the best Senator, but I would do all I could in the political process to get the best results for my state. Maybe that's a good reason for me never to run for governor.

As for Blago, there are many charges facing him, and I would like to hear the complete tapes, in full context, before making a judgment.

But on the question of whether it is right to get something good for your state, in conversations about whom you might appoint for the Senate, I can't see what's wrong in Blago's explanation.
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