It appears that the long, sorry saga of Rod Blagojevich is finally sputtering to a conclusion. All that remains is his sentencing that will send him off to play cards with George Ryan in a federal penitentiary.
I think most people are glad about this. During the trials, we learned a great deal about Mr. Blagojevich. But now it is clear that our former governor is a very flawed and very mediocre individual. Thus, one of the enduring questions for us to contemplate is: "How could such a person rise to a point where he could be elected twice to the highest public service position in our state?" Why were Mr. Blagojevich's weaknesses not made apparent to the electorate?
The answer to this question is that he had a wide range of enablers and image builders who. Even media types were in this group, including the Chicago Sun-Times, which endorsed him. Collectively, this group "did a job" on the public.
Although most of us are pleased to be rid of Mr. Blagojevich, I don't think that there is much reason for rejoicing. His enablers and apologists are still around, and they are still the ones calling the shots in government. Simply put, the culture of Illinois politics itself has not changed.
One doesn't have to look too far for evidence of this. Gov. Pat Quinn has already revealed himself to be ineffective, dishonest and highly partisan. Quinn is clearly continuing his predecessor's pattern of poor decision making and of putting the interests of his party and the labor unions ahead of the interests of the people.
So, Blago may be gone, but that for which Blago stood remains in place in Illinois. In my mind, that is something about which we cannot be happy.
Charles F. Falk
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