I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to find this coy act of Obama kinda offensive.
He is the president-elect. Does he really expect us to believe that he didn’t know way more about the case against Blagojevich before we all found out about it on the news? It was his Senate seat under discussion. It’s natural that he and his team would have expressed opinions to Blagojevich on their preference on who might be appointed to finish Obama’s term as Senator. Furthermore, Obama is about to take over the Department of Justice. You’d better believe that someone who valued their continuing employment would have briefed the president-elect and his advisors on the case well before the feds showed up to arrest the governor of a major state.
Honestly, it insults the intelligence of right-thinking Americans to portray what happened otherwise. In fact, it seems more likely that Obama’s team would have dropped the dime on Blagojevich themselves rather than sitting on their hands given their active engagement so far of the Bush administration during the transition.
In fact, I imagine that, a couple weeks ago, a conversation in a certain Chicago residence may have gone down a little like this:
Michelle: He said what? No he didn’t.
Barack: Oh yeah. That’s what they told me. That guy…(audible exhale, eyeroll)
Michelle: This ends…right now. (reaches for phone)
Barack: No, baby, I got it. We’re on top of it.
Michelle: Good. Cuz that man does not want my finger in his face nor my foot up his ass.
Barack: No he does not. (pause pause pause. bemused grin) Nor do I.
Michelle: (sly smile)
It makes me feel better about Obama that he might have helped bring down a corrupt politician. Possibly several corrupt politicians. Perhaps he’s trying to protect us or our image of him. Perhaps he thinks we might think he was too heavy-handed or worked the system in his favor. This is the way the system should work though. Blago is clearly bad news and had to be stopped before his desperate greed and manipulation poisoned the Senate.
Obama’s denial of any involvement whatsoever threatens to erode trust if people perceive that he’s not telling the truth — even if he’s clearly on the right side of the ethics here. Blagojevich is quoted in the criminal complaint on p. 66 in saying:
“Later in the conversation, ROD BLAGOJEVICH said he knows
that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing
to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.”
I find myself agreeing with John McCain of all people (thanks Ben Smith/Politico).
“I think that the Obama campaign should and will give all information necessary. You know, in all due respect to the Republican National Committee and anybody — right now, I think we should try to be working constructively together, not only on an issue such as this, but on the economy stimulus package, reforms that are necessary. And so, I don’t know all the details of the relationship between President-elect Obama’s campaign or his people and the governor of Illinois, but I have some confidence that all the information will come out. It always does, it seems to me.”
We’ve got bigger problems in this country than Blagojevich. Still it will weaken Obama’s ability to address those issues if he doesn’t talk to us about events like we’re grownups, eroding our faith in him. Blagojevich tells us himself that Obama and his team’s conduct was above approach – in detail. It’s time for Obama to do the same. I’d strongly encourage the Obama transition team to come clean with whatever involvement they have in Blago’s takedown. We can handle it and we’ll respect & trust the incoming adminstration all the more for it. The RNC cannot hurt Obama more than Obama can hurt himself with this thing.
Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell
Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris
Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats