A year ago Wednesday morning, FBI agents handcuffed the governor of Illinois and led him into ignominy. Other politicians then impeached him, removed him from office. But despite pressure from infuriated voters, those surviving pols -- refusing to curb their own power -- enacted only some of the anti-corruption and governance reforms they should have.
With that, the pols who run Illinois essentially declared this state healed: The Rod Blagojevich era was over, save for his trial in 2010. With him defrocked, his survivors suggest, state government today is more stable and better-governed.
If only that were true. It is not. Illinois is in demonstrably worse shape today than on Dec. 9, 2008, when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the governor's arrest had halted "a political corruption crime spree." Blagojevich says he is innocent, a verdict federal courts will affirm or reject. Either way, these years -- with and after Blagojevich -- will be mourned as a wasted, wasteful time when Illinois leaders didn't lead.
All of the state wides offices in Illinois are held by Democrats, the Dems control both houses of the General Assembly, and heck, even president of the United States is from Chicago. Illinois' current governor, Patrick Quinn, was Blago's running mate and a beneficiary of the hair-brained one's tainted millions.
In 2006, with the exception of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, every name Democrat in the state, from Senator Barack Obama on down, endorsed Blagojevich for reelection--even though he faced a primary opponentit was widely believed that to be under federal investigation.
That's something to keep in mind when you walk into the polling place in November.
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