Monday, June 27, 2011

Bad (Hair) Day

Bad (hair) day for Rod Blagojevich; good day for the rest of us.

It is incredibly difficult to hold politicians accountable for unethical or illegal behavior. Politicians are slippery and calculating by nature, and, after all, they make up the rules of the game.

More important, incumbent politicians have an enormous advantage in a two-party political system plagued by earmarks and legislative gerrymandering. It is very difficult to roust sleepy voters to "throw the bums out." (What else explains Charlie Rangel, who might be in jail if he were not in Congress for the past 40 years?)

In rare cases, the justice system provides the ultimate "check" on political misconduct. Today was one of those days.

Early this afternoon, a Chicago jury found Blago guilty of enough crimes to keep him in stripes for the next 350 years. Although a "bittersweet moment" for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the rest of us can savor good-old-fashioned accountability for Blago's enormous abuse of the public trust.

Congrats to prosecuting attorneys Reid Schar, Chris Niewoehner and Carrie Hamilton on the decision. They've invested several years of late nights and bad take-out food to make Blago the poster boy for sleazy politicians across the country.

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