Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Not being from the area, I don't have to any original insights about Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest this morning. All I can add is that I have zero tolerance for corrupt politicians. Some people will defend guys from their party right up to conviction and beyond on the "he may be a bastard, but he's our bastard" principle. I go more for the "not even an appearance of impropriety" principle. I think politicians who are under investigation should step aside for the good of public confidence in the democratic process. Let them clear their names on their own time. When they hang on, defiantly shouting "I haven't been convicted yet!" like William Jefferson or Tom Delay, they contribute to cynicism and ultimately give comfort to those who would cats aside democracy in favor of the first authoritarian who raises the banner of "clean government." Political corruption has been the justification for more coups and revolutions during my lifetime than I care to count.

Powerful people seem to think they can bluff their way out of any problem. They have a sense of personal exceptionalness. They believe they are entitled to power and that rules are for the little. Those accused of unethical behavior always take refuge behind the claim that didn't do anything illegal. Those accused of illegal behavior take refuge behind the claim that haven't been convicted. Those who feel the the most entitled, like Ted Stevens, push the bluff right up to insisting they should hold on to their power until they start serving their sentence. They are bad for the country and bad for the cause of democracy. I say, throw the bastards out.

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