No, I don’t think so. In fact, I think Blagojevich’s trials are a distraction from the real problems of corruption in Illinois. The political class wants us to believe that Blagojevich was the bad apple in barrel, when really, the entire barrel is rotten. Rod Blagojevich didn’t corrupt Illinois politics. Illinois politics corrupted Rod Blagojevich. When he was governor, there were no limits on campaign contributions. To survive as a politician, he had to raise tens of millions of dollars, and he did so by selling every office at his disposal.There was on good conclusion about Blago and how he found himself out of office as Governor in 2009. He wasn't a good Governor and in trying to play that Chicago Politics game he didn't have the temperament where he wouldn't get caught. Unlike apparently Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel or Speaker Michael Madigan or perhaps other players in Illinois politics past or present.
This year, thanks to Blagojevich, a new law went into effect limiting individual campaign contributions to $10,000. Rahm Emanuel has already used his fund-raising genius to find more than one loophole in that law. First, Emanuel’s ex-campaign manager set up a fund of anonymous donors to help him dominate the City Council. Then, he began charging $50,000 a ticket for inaugural sponsorships.
And, as I asked Conn, “Who’s done a better job of enriching himself and putting family members in big government jobs? Rod Blagojevich or Michael Madigan?”
Emanuel and Madigan are just as compromised as Blagojevich, but they’re too smart and too disciplined to get into his kind of trouble. Blagojevich was brought down by envy and vanity. The mayor-elect and the speaker don’t indulge in such emotions. They don’t indulge in any emotions at all, as they methodically amass more money and power than Blagojevich ever achieved.
Blagojevich is not the problem. He’s a symptom. And he’s a useful scapegoat to distract attention from Illinois’s more successful power brokers.
If the whole barrel is rotten, what can be done about it? Blago can't merely be the only representation of it.