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      A few months ago I read a couple of books by the Singaporean intellectual Kishore Mahbubani. In “Has China Already Won he discusses Taiwan. The one exceptional trigger for a war involving China is Taiwan. Most of the time, the Chinese leaders have a lot of policy flexibility. There are no strong domestic lobbies to worry about. But the one issue where the Ch […]
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It’s Official – Blagogate = Whitewater


Things were quiet in Obamanation as they polled focus groups to determine the most effective strategy for dealing with this latest Obamadrama.  Well it looks like the spin doctors have reached a decision and are issuing talking points to the troops.  Expect to see this scandal compared to Whitewater in all the media and by all Obamabloggers.  From Joe Conason at Salon:

Questions are raised. Connections are drawn. Conspiracies are theorized. Guilt is imputed, implied, asserted and very widely associated. And more of the same feckless fingerpointing is exactly what Barack Obama should expect from the Republicans, the right-wing propaganda machine and their enablers in the mainstream media — even after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has met whatever fate he deserves.

From the kooky obsession with his place of birth on WorldNetDaily to insinuations about his Chicago pedigree by the Associated Press, all of the attacks launched lately on Barack Obama give off the same familiar smell. Even a quick sniff is enough to bring back memories from a decade ago, when no perfidious accusation against Bill or Hillary Clinton was too crazy to deserve attention.

The madness that was eventually classified under the quasi-clinical rubric of “Whitewater” began, in no small degree, with the dubious idea that Arkansas, the Clintons’ home state, was a peculiarly corrupt place — and that any politician from Arkansas by definition was suspect (but only if he or she happened to be a Democrat).

I really like the way Joe connects a criminal investigation that has already resulted in the conviction of a former close associate of Barack Obama and the arrest of the governor of Illinois to a bunch of frivolous lawsuits alleging Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen.  Joe already knows that Obama is innocent so any investigation would be a waste of time.  But he’s not alone, Digby calls it a “trumped-up scandal” and here is Jamison Foser:

By portraying Arkansas as thoroughly, and uniquely, corrupt, the media (and Clinton’s political opponents) tied him to a long line of misbehavior that had nothing to do with him — and created the impression that Clinton must be corrupt merely for being from such an ethical cesspool.

Of course, Arkansas was neither thoroughly nor uniquely corrupt.


The point isn’t that everyplace is corrupt, or that nowhere is. It’s that no location has a monopoly on crooked politicians (nor has there yet been a location over which crooked politicians held a monopoly) — and that any claim of a city or state’s unique history of public officials abusing their office should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. (For what it’s worth, USA Today determined this week that “[o]n a per-capita basis … Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007,” behind both Dakotas, Alaska, Alabama, Florida and several other states.)

And yet, here we are again, with an incoming Democratic president who hails from a city we are all supposed to believe is the most corrupt place this side of Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location. Chicago, we are told, is a den of villainy so irredeemable it defies credulity to suggest anyone could emerge from so much as a long layover at O’Hare without a closet full of skeletons.

Illinois is only 18th per capita in political corruption?  How many states have a governor sitting in prison and another on the way?  If Blago is convicted he will be the fourth Illinois governor in 35 years to get sent from the statehouse to the big house.  There is a very good reason that Chicago is synonymous with corrupt “machine” politics.

Here’s a big difference between the current scandal and Whitewater – the latter story was over a decade old by the time Bill Clinton ran for President, whereas Blagogate isn’t even a week old yet.  Why don’t we find out the facts and let the chips fall where they may? 

If the news media and blogosphere don’t want to search for the truth they should get some pom-poms.

42 Responses

  1. Yep, gotta put the spin on the whole story before the REAL story gets out of (their) control. I ‘m just hoping and praying BlagoCanary sings, and sings those tunes that Bob Bennett mentioned on Greta’s show last night – he’ll need to sing many different ones in order to get some meaningful reduction in his sentence. Think Blago is gonna be a martyr and keep mum while his buddies go scot-free and get more and more power? Hmmm…unless, of course, he gets offed in some ‘natural’ way. Dead men don’t talk. Unthinkable? Not after this wholly unbelievable and brazenly corrupt ‘election’ (as they like to call the process).

    I only hope that speculation and rumors raised here and there that Fitz may be getting just the small fish in order to protect the big fish ( folks are noting the timing of the revelations to the press before an exchange was made) are not true.

  2. They’ve been polling focus groups!!!

    Of course that’s what they’ve been doing-I being silly,
    thought they’d merely been talking amongst themselves, trying to remember what could be on the tapes, and settling upon the best answer .

    Good to see the Chicago Tribune, and AP doing their duty.

  3. Joe Conason sold out his integrity to be an Obamacrat some time ago. He is a prime example of how writers who have take “sides” in elections then must continue to extol the unique and wondrous qualities of “their” favored politicians. And how they must then find excuses for anything that might be construed as a fault.

    Once you head down that road, you become the presstitute you once claimed to loathe.

  4. Questions are raised. Connections are drawn. Conspiracies are theorized. Guilt is imputed, implied, asserted and very widely associated.

    I’m in a good mood, so I love that long string of passive-voice constructions. It reminds me of what George Bush said during Iran Contra: “clearly, mistakes were made.”

    And a little history of this ‘mistakes were made’ passive voice…


  5. “the right-wing propaganda machine and their enablers in the mainstream media”

    this made me laugh out loud! as IF.

  6. They are also spinning that Blago is the ultimate target for Fitz and that he is not interested in anyone else. Huh? OK. Then why is Emanuel hiding in his house and JJJr “choking up” on TV? There is a run on good criminal lawyers in Chicago and they are having to figure out if they can represent more than one weasel at a time. The investigations ending with Blago is wishful thinking because Blago is just playing a game he learned from masters. Corruption will not be eradicated in Illinois until all of them are out of power.

  7. I spent all day yesterday in room trying to convince Obama worshipers about the real Obama. You guessed it, it is an impossible task. They were phd in economics, engineer and some others but their brain is so stuck that they kept throwing the racism charge at me. They couldn’t for the life of them understand how could some one say that about the one. It was like trying to critisize some one’s religion or somthing.

    For some reason I still think that if people warmed up to the idea of forming a new party, grass root one starting back from the primaries, it would have been a more stable launching pad against this insanity. I just don’t seem to understand what hold is this 2-party system have to make every one afraid to cross. In 2 years we are going to have a new election. We can’t go into this with just venting on bloggs. There has to be something more subsatial than that.

  8. And we’ll have fun, fun, fun if old Blago gives some secrets away.

  9. thanks for the snow!

  10. I told you guys they were saying that Blago was bipolar, the very day it happened.

    Barack has been involved in the “pay to play” Chicago way for a long time. Obamabots like to point out how angry Blagojevich was at Barack, calling him an MF’er. Yes Blago is furious because he knows very well that Barack O plays this game and when Barack initially didn’t agree to his demands he got mad.

    Who would approach the next President with this scheme unless that person already knows that the President to be is real dirty?

  11. excellent point afrocity

  12. ownna,

    There are some Obamabots that you have to just give up on. Remember that many have already realized that Obama is not what he seems, they are just too proud to admit it. The MSM and Obamabots have invested too much in BO to go down quietly.

  13. You know, we do have to blame the Republicans for a lot of the Obamacrats’ inability to believe anything bad about a politician who labels himself a Democrat.

    The VRWC has lied repeatedly and constantly about every Democratic politician for decades. They did it to Carter, who was afraid of swimming bunnies and wanted to turn America over to the commies; Bill Clinton, who did everything from insurance fraud to murder; Al Gore, who dressed in earth tones and sighed; etc. etc. etc. Whitewater is, indeed, a great example of the scandal that wasn’t.

    Seeing that long history, I think it is really difficult for party loyalists to get beyond the idea that every scandal about Dem politicians is a lie.

    That being said, Obots do seem to find it easy to believe the most egregious lies about the Clintons. Their pretending that Chicago is no more corrupt than anywhere else is just pathetic; and so-called journalists doing so is simply shameful.

    Joe Conason, you are officially a hack. Hope the parties the Villagers throw, to which you are now invited, were worth the loss of your principles.

  14. I know a couple of people who still think Nixon was a great man and set up. One of these old folks was a state chairman or something for his re-election and had so much vested in the crook he simply could not process what Nixon really did. It really is kind of sad.

  15. madamab,

    which is why I belong to neither party. Both sides are flawed. I try to look at the person and not the party. This election has taught me that.

  16. I did a little research on third parties earlier this year: soon to be last year in a few weeks. I think the main reason a third party hasn’t risen to power yet is because most of them don’t appeal to a wide group of people.

    Libertarian party – too disorganized
    Constitutional party – too old-fashioned in a 1850s manner.
    Green party – it has the right organization and appeals to modern problems, but it either focuses on just one single issue or appears to focus on just one single issue. Somehow, it has not communicated itself effectively.

    I read the part where Blago is cussing out Obama. It makes me really hopeful Blagojevich is ticked off enough to rat him out.

    I wonder if the electoral college will vote in McCain/Palin for fear of corruption scandals from President-elect Obama? If Obama suffers serious and devestating scandals during his presidency, then voting in McCain/Palin might be their last chance effort to save the Democratic party. I doubt it would survive under a hideously corrupt president.

  17. Isolde – I agree wholeheartedly.

    I had lunch with a couple of colleagues last week, who turned out to be Repubs. They said they thought Bush was a good man who meant well but just wasn’t up to the job.

    Mmmmkay. That’s why he destroyed our economy (remember the Clintonian surplus?), hollowed out our government, tore up our Constitution so we could torture and imprison “suspected terrorists” indefinitely, allowed New Orleans to be destroyed while he played guitar, and of course, allowed 9/11 to happen so he could invade and occupy two nations that didn’t attack us.

    In what universe are those the acts of a good man?

  18. afrocity – It’s taught me the same.

  19. myiq2xu, I’ve read your post twice and will need to read it yet another time, to try to understand how anyone could conceivably compare Whitewater to the selling of a Senate seat.

    The excerpts you offered are dizzying in their twisted logic, and the foundation from which those arguments are predicated is shaky and full of falacies, to say the least.

    I did have to laugh at Foser’s faux outrage at the suggestion that any argument in which the existence of the inherently, deeply corrupt Chi-town political machine is a given, is instead an outrageous over the top characterization. Ha! Snort!

    Maybe I can make sense of the equation Blagogate equals Whitewater after another cup of coffee.

    Probably not.

  20. Should read “outrage and his suggestion” good morning. 🙂

  21. Deja_Vu – Unfortunately, it doesn’t have to make sense. The rightwing smear machine has cried wolf too many times.

    Now that the Democrat really IS a bad guy, people on the right side of the aisle have no credibility when they say so, and we are labeled as rightwingers because we agree with them in some respects.

    Plus, there is the “obvious” fact that anyone who says anything negative about The One must be a r*cist.

    We have a tough road ahead of us, ladies and gentlemen.

  22. I would say this scandal is closer to Watergate than Whitewater. Conason isn’t old enough to remember Watergate; some of us are.

    Blago’s problem is that if he keeps quiet, there is no Dick Cheney ready to find him another cushy position in gratitude for keeping his mouth shut. Also, Blago has never been able to create a living for himself without help from others. Unlike John Dean, who was the Watergate canary, I doubt that Blago could re-build his life into something respectable. Blago’s in the unfortunate position of having no strong defenders and, likewise, no real skills to offer later.

  23. Of course what the Obots will never engage with is the detail as if everyone who understands about Obama’s Chicago past just goes ‘he comes from Chicago, therefore he is corrupt’ rather than the fact that we could actually have a conversation with them about kickbacks on the Illinois Health Planning Board if they would ever stop screaming ‘you’re mad or ill or racist or whatever’ the moment they hear a critical word. My favourite one is that I have now twice been told by different friends that I am ‘over-informed’ and that is supposedly a symptom of either being under-worked or not having a life.

  24. Now they’re trying to claim Chicago and IL aren’t corrupt in order to exonerate Obama?

    Rewriting history to that extent just won’t fly.

  25. Just an observation, I’ve read about a half dozen essays, posts, articles this morning and at least 5 of them used the word “credulity” as does Jamison Foser. It seems to be a word “we can believe in” from the Obanauts.

    The next time they use it, I’d suggest they have two things handy — a dictionary and a mirror since the definition of credulity is “a disposition to believe to readily or easily.” No wonder the word holds such meaning to them.

  26. Prolix – They are using Gingrich’s playbook on framing. It is really cynical and repulsive.

    The parties have officially merged. One corporation, under petrodollars.

  27. Blogo is nothing compared to the house. When the MSM start asking the question about the house?

  28. I have to laugh at the concept of Blago’s tapes “proving” BO innocent becasue of Blago’s language. The MSM and the Obots all want to say that Blago “MF’ing Bo is proof that the one wasn’t part of the scheme. However, you have to willingly suspend disbelief to not see that Blago is coming right out and saying that BO hasn’t accepted his terms. That can only mean that Bo was in the bidding. Otherwise, he couldn’t have turned down the conditions.

    Simply put, Blago is cussing BO out because he won’t agree to Blago’s conditions. That means, logically, that Blago believes he knows about the conditions, otherwise he couldn’t disagree with them.

    The tapes prove that BO or a close member of his staff (maybe Emanuelle) was privy to what was going on. There really isn’t any way around it. I am going to guess that the prosecutors saw that, also, and that is probably why they moved so quickly, to stop the appointment and follow the strings before the 20th of Jan., when the game is over.

  29. When in doubt – blame right wing propaganda.

  30. warrior princess – Yes, and to take it a step further, this is about the impatience of Blago. Remember, the Obama people told him that they would show their “appreciation” which in politics means support or string-pulling at future date. In other words, he’d have a chit to redeem. That wasn’t good enough for Blago, but is sure sounds like quid pro quo to me.

    Blago was making it very clear that he wanted something NOW. And I think as the layers are pulled back from this we will find that he felt entitled to it NOW because he felt he’d already done his part, so to speak. In other words, the immediate benefit he wanted wasn’t just for naming their favored candidate to the Senate seat, but also included past activity on Obama’s or Emmanuel’s part.

    We shall see.

  31. Joe Conason co-authored a book on the Clinton scandals and he wrote another book about fascism coming to the U.S., “It Can Happen Here.” So I guess he’s going to stop noticing the fascism too as long as it’s Obama who is doing it? I’m really disappointed in Joe Conason.

  32. ITsure sounds like quid pro quo

    Sorry about the typo above.

  33. wasn’t just for naming their favored candidate to the Senate seat, but also included past activity on Obama’s or Emmanuel’s part. behalf.

  34. bluelyon,

    Obama and Emanuel must be regretting all the time and energy they spent getting Blogojevich elected and helping his corruption schemes. The guy just isn’t very smart, it seems.

  35. I had the same reaction when I heard the word “appreciation.” I doubt if Fitzgerald misunderstood it.

  36. I had completely forgotten about Whitewater. I don’t remember the specifics but I do remember that Hillary was a lot better at getting off than Martha Stewart.

    I suppose the comparison means they expect Obama to get off too.

  37. So Fitzmas DELAYED the CHICAGO TRIBUNE from reporting the Blago story for 2 months, just enough time to gift BO the election!

    Just heard that on Reliable Sources. 2 months brings us back to mid-October. If the story had been reported then, BO would have been so tainted by the investigation he would have lost.

    Looks like Fitz drank the koolaid after all.

  38. A quick check of the Obot blogs says Ron Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have been selected for under the bus.

  39. Let me get this straight. Only months ago ObamaNation was using Whitewater and any other Clinton “scandal” they could dredge up as a reason not to elect Hillary. She had too much “baggage.” Now, all of a sudden, the Clintons are (presumably) the innocent victims of a right wing takedown campaign. Hmmmmm. How convenient.

    IMO, the difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama is that, in the end, they had nothing on Bill Clinton. Obama, on the other hand, is up to his eyeballs in this sh!t. He can be taken down. And I think they knew that all along. They were just putting in place someone who could be easily beaten in 2012. Jeb couldn’t win in 2008 after his brother had made such a mess of things. 2012 has always been the goal.

  40. basil:

    If the Trib had reported the story back in October, all the juicy stuff on the wiretaps would never have taken place.

    Not to mention that we don’t want US Attorneys filing cases like this a couple weeks before an election. That’s what the whole controversy was with the USA firings.

  41. So the Obamabots must set the ground rules up ahead of time that anything that comes out of this will be a right wing plot to discredit Obie? Poor bastards are gonna be in denial all the way even when they are faced with the facts.

    Now that is sad.

  42. Actually what is happening is much larger than Watergate. The problem is that at this time everyone only sees part of what this is.

    What’s blocking everyone from seeing the bigger picture is in focusing on the problem as a separate issue,. The Ill gov problem is only one layer of many with the other layers being far worse with involving crime than just Play-to-Play. Of course at this time we seem to be glued to each issue that unfolds probably because we are a society of gawkers.

    I was in a family for more than 26 years who is deeply involved in this mess. My youngest son is involved with Rezko to my dismay. The other layers linked to this will amaze everyone and you can read about one here:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report
    Sep 4, 2008

    Clyde O’Connor is my ex-sister-in-law’s brother who’s a business partner with my ex-brother-in-law. Obama is well known by the family as they met him while he worked at the law firm. At that time, Obama was considered a TEAM MEMBER in the crime system and it’s most probable that Obama helped setup the family’s drug air shipping business in Florida!

    Fast en your seat belts as what is expected to surface isn’t going to be easy to accept.

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

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