Commentary Magazine


Obama’s Heroism

Jen and Abe have been all over Governor Blagojevich’s corruption, but they missed the primary reason the feds were able to catch this sleazy politico–luckily, the New York Times picks up the slack. The fine people of Illinois can thank Barack Obama, and a key (better: revelatory) telephone call he made, for the justice that’s finally being served in the prairie state:

In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Mr. Obama placed the call to his political mentor, Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois Senate. Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.

Tipped off to Mr. Blagojevich’s efforts, federal agents obtained wiretaps for his phones and eventually overheard what they say was scheming by the governor to profit from his appointment of a successor to the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama.

Additionally, in case anyone doubted it, Obama’s “relationship with Mr. Blagojevich [has] always [been] defined more by political proximity than by personal chemistry.” Phew, glad that’s cleared up. In a way, it’s too bad Obama was elected; who, now, will be able to bestow upon the former-Senator the Presidential Medal of Freedom?