Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Latest Non-Scandal, and Why We Don't Need it Now

The ink was barely dry on the indictment against Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich when NewsMax ran a headline "What did Obama know, and when did he know it?" For the past week, the rant-wing noise machine has striven mightily to implicate anyone connected to Obama in the developing scandal.

Of course there was contact between the Obama team and the governor's office. Obama did leave a vacant Senate seat, that the governor had the authority to appoint someone to fill. I would be extremely disappointed if he hadn't shown a passing interest in his replacement and discussed recommendations with the Governor. Its a matter of tying up loose ends, and as we have seen, Obama is thorough. So far there has been no hint of impropriety on the part of the Obama team. All indications at this point are there was no quid pro quo from Obama. He's too smart an operator.

The Republicans will no doubt continue to flog this dead horse for all it is worth, as illustrated by this report from

As General Motors announced the temporary closure of 20 plants Friday, Republicans who fought a White House-backed bailout plan want Americans to blame the United Auto Workers and think about Rod Blagojevich.

The GOP strategy, previewed in an “action alert” sent by a Republican lobbyist and outlined by Republican aides, is based on the idea that the best defense is a good offense — and the hope that the taint of the Illinois governor will rub off on organized labor.

“This is the Democrats’ first opportunity to pay off organized labor after the election ... a precursor to card check and other items,” said the memo. “Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.”

Its too early to determine if there is any substance to the allegation that the SEIU cooperated with Blagojevich, or if he was just ruminating about what he could shake them down for. I hope it is the latter, but Andy Stern has been known to make deals with the devil before. The EFCA is very important to all working Americans, and the Republicans will do whatever they can to defeat it. If the SEIU is implicated, it would be the worst setback for American workers since Taft-Hartley. It is too important to give Republicans any leverage against.

But one major difference between recent Republican and Democrat scandals is the speed which the Democrats rid themselves of the Cancer. Republicans tend to cling to power until they become so odious they have no choice but to step down; Trent Lott, Tom Delay, Ted Stevens. Other than William Jefferson, Democrats step down early. Eliot Spitzer resigned quickly, If John Edwards hadn't the decency to drop out of sight before the Super Tuesday Primaries, John McCain would be president elect. The Illinois State Legislature (which presumably includes some Democrats) just voted unanimously on a resolution to impeach Blagojevich.

Blagojevich needs to go quickly and as quietly as possible. He needs to be out of the news cycle by inauguration day. I really hope Andy Stern is also exonerated, but if he is implicated in wrongdoing, he needs to become the next Jimmy Hoffa.