13 dec. 2008

Obama Worked to Distance Self From Blagojevich Early On

Like every other politician in Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich waited for Barack Obama's call this summer. He told colleagues that he expected a speaking role at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, a nice bit of payback for being the first governor to endorse the senator from Illinois in his campaign for president. By showing off a connection to Obama in Denver, Blagojevich hoped to repair his own diminished reputation.
Obama's campaign made speaking offers to the Illinois treasurer, the comptroller, the attorney general and a Chicago city clerk. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) was asked to introduce Obama on the convention's final night; Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (Ill.) was told he would speak on television during prime time. Finally, fed up and embarrassed that he still had heard nothing, Blagojevich joked to a crowd at the Illinois State Fair that, yes, he also had been asked to speak -- at 4 a.m., in a Denver area men's bathroom.
Long before federal prosecutors charged Blagojevich with bribery this week, Obama had worked to distance himself from his home-state governor. The two men have not talked for more than a year, colleagues said, save for a requisite handshake at a funeral or public event. Blagojevich rarely campaigned for Obama and never stumped with him. The governor arrived late at the Democratic convention and skipped Obama's victory-night celebration at Chicago's Grant Park.
Even though they often occupied the same political space -- two young lawyers in Chicago, two power brokers in Springfield, two ambitious men who coveted the presidency -- Obama and Blagojevich never warmed to each other, Illinois politicians said. They sometimes used each other to propel their own careers but privately acted like rivals. Blagojevich considered Obama naive and pretentious and dismissed his success as "good luck." Obama disparaged Blagojevich for what he viewed as his combativeness, his disorganization and his habit of arriving at official events half an hour late.
Under different circumstances, friends said, Obama might have derived some satisfaction from seeing Blagojevich handcuffed for allegedly trying to sell off Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. But, only six weeks after Obama won the presidency by casting himself as a reformer, the Blagojevich scandal is a jarring reminder that Obama's political origins are in a city and state long tainted by corruption.
Blagojevich was elected in 2002 as a reform governor, but he has faced a series of investigations and charges of ethical irregularities ever since.
"Obama saw this coming, and he was very cautious about not having dealings with the governor for quite some time," said Abner Mikva, a former congressman and appeals court judge who was Obama's political mentor in Chicago. "The governor was perhaps the only American public officeholder who didn't speak at the convention, and that wasn't by accident. He's politically poisonous. You don't get through Chicago like Barack Obama did unless you know how to avoid people like that."

Meanwhile GOP members reach out to techniques which suggest a close relationship between Obama and Blagojevich. Obama should have condemned the indicted governor more forcefully. Obama is 'painted' by the scandal portraying all the politicians in Chicago to belong to the same 'political machine' aimed to declare Obama guilty by association. "Country first" means in Gods Own Party the considerable effort to put the Democratic POTUS in the worldwide light of caught criminals and derailed perverts.
The president-elect has released a new statement calling for the governor to resign. This of course begs the establishment press topic for the rest of the day: Was Obama's statement calling for the governor's resignation strong enough? Should Obama release a third statement demanding that Blagojevich be launched into space inside of a creepy Phantom Zone square like the one from Superman II?
Really, is there anything the President-elect can do to satisfy these people?
Also Pennsylvania's Democratic governor Rendell plays himself in the picture with the issue:

Let's check the recent historical record. When former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was accused of ethics violations and money laundering, and then was indicted on charges of conspiring to commit campaign finance fraud and consequently resigned from Congress in disgrace, President Bush publicly denounced and rejected DeLay -- a fellow Texan.
But President Bush didn't denounce DeLay at all. In fact...
Bush Expresses a Belief in DeLay's Innocence
(New York Times)
President Bush Shows Support to Embattled DeLay
(The News Hour)
President Says DeLay Is Not Guilty of Money Laundering
(The Washington Post 1)
Bush Declares DeLay Innocent
(The Washington Post 2)
Lott urges Bush to give DeLay 'aggressive support'
(The Washington Times)
Bush to Give DeLay a Lift to Show Support
(The Los Angeles Times)
Read that last headline again. Not only did President Bush not denounce and reject the corrupt Republican leader, but DeLay was literally rewarded with a free ride aboard Air Force One. Both men wantonly tainting each other aboard the presidential aircraft.
Contrastingly, Obama can't even live in the same state as Blagojevich without having to emphatically denounce the governor's crimes and stupidity. And even when he denounces and rejects Blagojevich, he's still defined as tainted.