[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/10/blagojevich.senate.seat/art.blagojevich.file.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal conspiracy charges Tuesday."]
The Chicago Tribune
Now that Gov. Dead Meat has been arrested at his home and charged with selling Illinois by the pound—and Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat by the slice—let's just savor the aroma.
I love the smell of meat over coals in the morning.
It smells like . . . victory. The people of Illinois needed some good news and they got it. Former Republican Gov. George Ryan is in prison, and the arrest of his successor, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, surely means that the Illinois Combine that runs this state can stop with the rumors that U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald will be leaving town.
And, as Blagojevich most likely prepares to be Ryan's bunkmate, let's not forget the scores of other politicos, of all parties, who've gone down on corruption charges—including some of Mayor Richard Daley's guys who helped rebuild that Democratic machine the mayor says doesn't exist.
At a news conference in the federal building in Chicago, authorities were asked about Illinois corruption.
"If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States, it's certainly one hell of a competitor," said Robert Grant, special agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office.
Grant had the privilege of standing outside Blagojevich's home about 6 a.m. Tuesday and calling the sleepy governor to say federal agents were outside, waiting to arrest him quietly.
"I could tell I woke him up," Grant said. "And the first thing he said was, 'Is this a joke?' "
No, but standing before a federal judge wearing jogging pants, sneakers and a powder blue fleece sort of made the governor of Illinois look like a jester. Or a joker.
Political corruption in the state that has made corruption an art form isn't funny, like a clown. The joke is on all of us, everyone who lives in Illinois. Because Blagojevich was elected governor on the reform ticket, promising to clean up the state and end business as usual.
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