17 February 2009

Burris & Blago (2)

Democratic Illinois politicians are becoming concerned about the Burris affair, and Republicans are exploiting the situation.

It's important to remember that Burris has not been accused of paying a bribe; he has only been accused of failing to mention under oath that he was asked for one (or for something which a reasonable person would interpret as one), though this may have technically constituted perjury. The story matters because it's part of the steadily-widening stain surrounding Blagojevich.

If such revelations keep coming, no doubt the hope-and-change crowd will start accusing Fitzgerald and the FBI of continuing the "old failed policy" of trying to actually catch corrupt politicians.


Blogger Unknown said...

I kind of hope Burris will stay. 1st, it almost guarantees a republican win next election. 2nd, Burris will bring a little more comedy relief for those of us stuck in Illinois.

17 February, 2009 20:16  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Good Morning Mr.Infidel! Hmmm...
"perjury" heh? Well...it's certainly being discussed...but Burris has been talking in circles as well and incoherent in my opinion,he has alot of angles to choose from on defense. Can they make it "stick"? is the question and make a solid case to deliberate? If I were the prosecution...I would want a lil more than some hearsay...and a old man...who whines that he isnt given opportunity to talk,and didnt mean this or that.Two other thing's Burris has in his favour...is he's black..and old, and when you attack someone like that...you may be seen in public as uncompassionate..I am not like that...but I am speaking of the people's...especially in a state like Illinois. Other than that...who got money or what? And what was the offense? Or was it all talk? I am not saying that the intention's of anyone was not to get money..I am saying how the court system work's and knowing how to play the system. I can call a guy right now...record the message..and tell him I'll sell him a pound of heroin..wheres the heroin? wheres the money? How solid is what I said? I could go on...but I'll put a lid on it. thanx.

18 February, 2009 05:50  
Blogger Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hey. I am not sure there's perjury - but that depends on the specific questions asked of him and the answers he gave during sworn live testimony and in affidavits. I suspect that the affidavits and his live testimony are honest. They may mislead, in the sense that saying I had no "contact with Blagojevich" or "I did nothing inappropriate" does not reveal the fundraising. But this would not constitute perjury unless he was specifically asked something like: "provide a listing of ALL contacts with Blagojevich or persons connected to him" or "have you ever tried to raise money for Blago," etc.

Second - although I think it's a bit slimy, do you think that raising money for a political connection and then getting a job out of it is unusual? Fundraisers get all type of access within political parties and often get jobs. Endorsements lead to positions and access as well.

Consider Hillary Clinton and Obama. Clinton's campaigning and fundraising for Obama undoubtedly helped her to get the Sec. of State position -- which was probably promised to Richardson after he endorsed Obama.

Also, people argued that Paterson should have picked Kennedy because of her political and financial connections without even blinking an eye. And when he picked Gillibrand (spelling?) instead, people thought he had acted against interest. Others thought he made a wise choice because she could help him win upstate (which means campaigning and fundraising).

So, on some level, the "outrage" is hypocritical. But American politics would not exist without hypocritical moral indignation?

19 February, 2009 05:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, as I said, it "may have technically constituted perjury" -- I'm not sure of those details either, but some who are seem to think perjury is a real possibility.

Second - although I think it's a bit slimy, do you think that raising money for a political connection and then getting a job out of it is unusual? Fundraisers get all type of access within political parties and often get jobs.

I still think there's a difference between this kind of favor-trading and outright bribery or selling of offices. There's a broad consensus that Obama's appointment of Hillary as Secretary of State is on one side of the line, while Blagojevich's flagrant solicitation of money as a direct quid pro quo for a Senate appointment lies on the other. It's true that where exactly the line between those things should be drawn is much more debatable, but that doesn't mean there's no difference.

Personally I think we as a society are far too tolerant of such favor-trading as it is. Doling out ambassadorships to contributors is an old practice, for example, and it can't be doing our image abroad any good to be represented in foreign capitals by people with little real qualification. Making political decisions with an eye to financial gain is properly associated with corrupt Third World governments. It probably can't be rooted out entirely, even here, but we should be much more diligent in exposing and discouraging it than we are.

19 February, 2009 06:40  

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