The NYT’s political writing is starting to rival Lysenkoist “genetics.” And even worse, it’s wholesome to the point of being insipid as it ignores the blood sport of politics.
Blago’s sin, from the Chicago point of view, was that he departed from the Chicago Way and thereby posed a threat to the Chicago Way. Politics in Chicago is not only affiliated with organized crime, they share the same MO. It’s about loyalty and taking care of your people, not feeding at the trough like a pig and gorging yourself. That’s the way it’s done and it’s good business, because the pigs abuse the system, offend their friends, and otherwise attract too much attention and threaten to wreak a good thing for everybody. Think of John Gotti.
Blago and Blago-ism had gotten out of hand and he had to go. That’s why he went and why it’s unlikely they’ll ever get Daley (he plays the game right and has loyal friends who won’t give him up). It’s also why it was in Obama’s interest to help get rid of Blago and pull back on the throttle of the Chicago system with “reform” – that Emil Jones, one of the most notoriously corrupt Illinois politicos, suddenly found Jesus on reform says it all. Everyone had already gotten all they were going to get out Blago and he was out of control, shaking down his friends, and ready to take everyone else down with him.
Obama’s infrastructure extravaganza looks a little different when you think of sending semis full of hundred dollar bills to guys like Blago. Of course, as another NYT writer would remind us, the real sin of that project is not its great potential for corruption, waste, and cronyism, but the likelihood that guys like Blago will go in for tacky 30’s style architecture and the sort of post-war urban planning that offends the sensibilities.