Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » The Tribune cowards
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The Tribune cowards

Monday, Jun 16, 2008

* This is one of the worst editorials I’ve ever seen in the Tribune, and that’s really saying something…

In a better world, Illinoisans would be deciding on Nov. 4 whether to add a recall provision to their state constitution. There are many reasons to give people the power to fire the public officials they employ. The most urgent reason, of course, is that voters shouldn’t have to wait until 2011 to be rid of an inept governor. But the Illinois Senate this year refused to allow citizens the right to enact or reject a recall provision.

So conversation has turned to impeachment, with some lawmakers plotting the ouster of Gov. Rod Blagojevich—something voters have told pollsters they desire. […]

This page has strongly supported adding a recall provision to the state constitution. If voters had agreed, we then would have urged them to recall Blagojevich.

* The Trib goes on and on about the Madigan memo, then decrees that the ivory-towered editorial board does not advocate for Blagojevich’s impeachment and trial…

Recall is a political tool, an expression of the people’s wish to rescind their own, previous decision. By contrast, legislative impeachment and trial of an official—at the federal level and in many states—usually are devices for weighing accusations of crime. […]

Federal investigators and prosecutors are aggressively exploring whether anyone at the highest level of state government broke corruption laws. We trust that this scrutiny will unearth which crimes, if any, demand consequences in the courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons—as it already has for Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

But what about that “voters shouldn’t have to wait until 2011 to be rid of an inept governor” line? Is that no longer operative? Why even include it in paragraph 1 if you say you don’t want him removed in paragraph 14?

One might even argue that it would be preferable for the state to deal with its own problem via Constitutional means, rather than outsource the ouster of its own governor to federal authorities. What’s so wrong with the people’s elected representatives making the decision?

* Though it is deservedly much-maligned, the Madigan impeachment memo has these thoughts on the ongoing federal investigations

There is already enough evidence for the House to consider, from the trial records, to the guilty please of those associated with the governor that there would be no need for the House to conducts its own criminal investigation.

Furthermore, besides the criminal problems besetting his administration, the House may want to consider whether or not he has violated his oath of office in promising to uphold the constitution and whether or not he is derelict in his duties and not doing the work required of a governor.

The impeachment process is completely separate from the processes used by the criminal justice system. The impeachment and conviction of a constitutional officer does not preclude the possibility that that individual could be liable for prosecution by state or federal authorities.

* And then the Tribune goes truly weak-kneed…

Illinois legislators are free to disagree with that and launch impeachment proceedings. As that absence of designated reasons for impeachment and trial in our state’s constitution attests, lawmakers can remove a governor for any act or omission on his part.

Awww. Thanks, Mother Tribune. You’re such a kind, benevolent dictator of thought.

“We shouldn’t impeach him because we should let Patrick Fitzgerald do our dirty work for us, but you’re free to do whatever you want.”

So sweet of you to grant permission.

* And that brings us to the most hypocritical section…

Whether they oust Blagojevich or continue his reign, legislators ultimately can be held accountable by their constituents.

“We’re against impeachment, because the people ought to decide via recall not legislators, but elected legislators are free to go ahead and do it if they want. And, oh, by the way, voters may hold it against elected legislators if they don’t impeach the governor, and rightly so.”

What an absolutely cowardly and hypocritical editorial. It’s even worse than the Tribune’s original recall editorial, which didn’t actually take a stand on the issue. It wasn’t until after the Tribune editorial writers saw the reaction to their wimpy little non-statement that they decided to finally take a position in favor of changing the Constitution to oust a lousy governor.

If you’re for impeachment, fine. If you’re against it, fine. If you’re undecided, that’s fine, too. But don’t insist that impeachment not be pursued because the decision ought to be in the hands of voters who would have to change the Constitution instead of elected officials, and then say that if elected officials impeach the governor then that would probably be OK, and if they don’t then voters have the right to take out their anger on them.

It looks to me like the Tribune has a closely divided editorial board. So why half-jump on board now? Bizarre.

* Somewhat Related…

* A big stick over governor’s head Impeachment couldbe more than just talk

* Our Opinion: State’s leaders must put aside their differences

* Forget the soap opera and get to work

* Billions in matching funds could be lost without agreement

* Naperville Dem got impeachment memo

* FINKE: Memo puts spotlight on Madigan

* OUR VIEW: What would Ah-nuld say?

* Lawmakers divided on trusting Blagojevich

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Huh? - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:07 am:

    Rich: Kinda Wonk-ish, huh??

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:15 am:

    I’ve never understood the argument that you have to wait for the Justice Department to act before you can start impeachment. It’s a cop-out by weak-kneed legislators that has been adopted as some sort of philosophy.

    Long-term, if the House doesn’t at least form an impeachment committee for Blago, the GA better be prepared to be beat like a rented mule every year by this and all future governors when it comes to the executive honoring legislative intent.

  3. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:19 am:

    I guess I can see some distinction — impeachment should only be used for serious misbehaviour, but recall can be used for political unpopularity.

    If that’s the case, the Tribune got it wrong twice. I don’t know what further evidence of misbehaviour by the Governor is necessary to start impeachment hearings. And, political unpopularity alone should not lead to removal from office before a term expires; this leads to short term thinking in politics rather than policies that work for the long term.

    The part of the Trib’s argument that goes unquestioned is exactly how would an impeachment interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation? The Governor (and his staff and cronies) still have their 5th Amendment right to refuse to testify, and that would apply to the General Assembly’s subpoena power.

    The only interference would be if there was testimony given under a grant of immunity. I doubt that the GA could grant immunity from prosecution, let alone federal prosecution. More importantly, after the Ollie North case, I cannot imagine a legislature run by someone as smart as Madigan granting immunity.

    Other than the issue of immunity, I can’t see at all how an impeachment proceeding interferes with the criminal investigation.

  4. - Ultra50k - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:44 am:

    The Tribune may not have noticed…but I think the People of this once Great State have spoken. We want Rod out! The sooner the better. The polls may not be scientific, but when they are all in the 90% range in favor of impeachment…the message is very clear.

  5. - chiatty - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:47 am:

    Awww. Thanks, Mother Tribune. You’re such a kind, benevolent dictator of thought.

    “We shouldn’t impeach him because we should let Patrick Fitzgerald do our dirty work for us, but you’re free to do whatever you want.”

    So sweet of you to grant permission.

    So you slam the Trib when they don’t share the same sentiments of the blood lust crowd? Just remember that the recall provisions and impeachment mechanisms might one day be used to go after somebody that you think is unfairly maligned.

  6. - DeepFriedOnAStick - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:49 am:


    As a legal matter, I don’t know how the General Assembly could grant somebody immunity from federal prosecution — even if that’s what it wished to do.

  7. - Holier than Thou - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 9:53 am:

    The demise of people like Royko Verdi left the Tribune completely devoid of character long ago.

    From my perspective one of the redeeming qualities of the Tribune however used to be their editorial perspective, not because they were always right, but because they provided the ability to help you sift through complex issues and distill them in such a way where they could be analyzed through a critical lense in an even handed way. The Tribune could provide perspective and reason for their position, and it was easier for the reader to then establish their own opinion; either in agreement or opposition, in a well reasoned way. This was made easy through through the inclusion of unbiased information outlined by the Tribune in support of their own position.

    That has all changed in the last 5 years or so, and the Tribune editorialists have adopted an intellectually elitist perspective which seems to be premised on the foundation of “here’s our opinion, and of course you must agree, because after all, we are so much smarter than you”. They often no longer bother to provide unbiased facts, or any sense of balance in the information or process they used to arrive at their own opinion.
    As a consequence the print version of the Tribune; when that itself was still relevant, became not much more than the proverbial birdcage liner.

    As an enterprise however I miss the Tribune Company because they served a valuable financial purpose by selling their stock short in recent years before Sam Zell came to their rescue. This was far better than clipping coupons and was akin to owning high yield bonds that were above junk grade status due to a misguided perception by some of the sum total value of their franchises which was internally eroding.

  8. - Garp - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    “The House of Representatives has the sole power to conduct legislative investigations to determine the existence of cause for impeachment and, by the vote of a majority of the members elected, to impeach Executive and Judicial officers.”

    The Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives has produced a 14 page document calling for the impeachment of the Governor of Illinois. Although some of the reason are trivial, the majority of them are serious enough to begin formal investigations to determine whether to impeach.

    Not only is the Tribune writing from both sides of its pages, but MJM would be equally hypocritical if he is not serious about the road to removal. If his “talking points” are only a political ploy to influence the upcoming election and hamstring the Governor then he is seriously misusing his power and is guilty of several of the charges his memo accuses the Governor of.

    The impeachment of the Governor should not be played like some political game.

  9. - Budget Watcher - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 11:24 am:


    The harsh rhetorical tone of this post seems more than a little over-the-top. I’ve read worse editorials that never get a mention in Captfax. In fact, your comment …’Thanks, Mother Tribune. You’re such a kind, benevolent dictator of thought.’ was kinda cheap. It’s simply an editorial, one which admittedly is somewhat feeble.

    As a Sun Times columnist and White Sox fan, your tough critique may be seen as somewhat biased. Just an opinion…

  10. - dupage progressive - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 11:33 am:

    I truly have no opinion yet about impeachment or recall — makes sense to me to see all the facts before making such a huge step. And I’m not sure what I think about recall yet either. While the argument re. “we will lose institutional knowledge - and legislators will need to rely more on staff & lobbysists” makes some sense to me, I’m just not sure if some legislators hide behind this argument.

    That said, Rich THANK YOU for your posting. I agree with you 100%.
    This editorial reminds me a little of Lou Dobbs (who I CAN’T stand).
    He acts all high & mighty, and is only knowing or discussing SOME of the facts.
    But, oh, he acts like he has ALL the facts and that it’s sooooooo easy to make a decision, and the american people are getting screwed.
    It only makes people more jaded against government & politics.
    Discuss BOTH sides of such a tough issue — don’t take advantage of the missing facts.

    Again, thank you Rich — well done.
    ONe of the best posts I’ve seen here.
    (and no, I don’t work for either side of the war — I’m just a hostage in this situation — like all of us caught in a somewhat-related job that relies on a few grade school kids getting along & doing their jobs.)

  11. - 2for2 - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    Rich, when I read the editorial I thought exactly the same thing. Interesting speculation on a possible split among the board.

  12. - montrose - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 11:44 am:

    Here is where I think we are conflating things in a way that makes the Tribune in the wrong.

    There is an investigation by Fitzgerald that could result in a trial that could result in criminal punishment. That investigation is not about whether the Governor is fit to be the Governor. The impeachment proceedings, while they would cover much of the same territory as Fitzgerald’s work in term terms of content, are about whether the Governor is fit to be the Governor. The two processes have two different goals. Moreover, the two prosecuting bodies have two different sets of responsibilities. So, to say “let Fitzgerald do his job” is for the legislature to abdicate its seperate and distinct role.

    I am an agnostic on whether impeachment proceedings should convene, but such a decision needs to be wholly independent from whatever Fitz is doing.

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    ===As a Sun Times columnist and White Sox fan, your tough critique may be seen as somewhat biased. Just an opinion…===

    Apparently, you never read the Capitol Fax back when I didn’t have a CS-T column and was a Cub fan. ;)

  14. - reasonable 1 - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 1:07 pm:

    The Editorial is just that. It’s someone elses thoughts on the matter. Why slam it because you feel it should have been written a certain way? I can see the reasoning behind it to a certain degree and whether or not I agree or disagree, I respect the opinions of others.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    === Why slam it because you feel it should have been written a certain way? ===

    I slammed it because it was all over the freaking map.

  16. - A Citizen - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rich, a month or so ago, one of our brighter posters developed a multi column piece that provided phrases. We could select a phrase from each column to develop the spinsisters statement on just about anything guv said/did. I think the Trib Ed. Board simply has adopted that format for their editorials and Zell has fired the board to save money.

  17. - reasonable 1 - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 1:23 pm:

    OK, so you obviously disagree with it. But I think you’re being a “tid” bit harsh on it and seemingly not biased based on your rebuttal. Nonetheless, to each, his own.

  18. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 1:24 pm:

    I just want them to pick a lane. They’re so wishy-washy on this stuff, starting with recall.

  19. - Does this fit Blago? - Monday, Jun 16, 08 @ 6:31 pm:

    Top 5 Reasons
    To Recall Gray Davis

    Lied to Public About California’s Budgetary Matters Solely to Gain Re-Election: Never has there been a time where a politician had been more disingenuous in deceiving and misleading the public than Gray Davis. He knowingly lied through his teeth before the election about the size and scope of California’s $34.6 billion budget deficit.
    Lied to Voters About His Plans to Raise Taxes: As soon as he felt he had hoodwinked the voters and Election Day had passed, Gray Davis suddenly declared a serious budget crisis existed. Then he started advocating massive tax increases plus cuts in public safety and education to balance the state’s budget.
    Pushes for New Form of Taxation – Taxing the Internet: Never has there been a more dangerous threat to commerce in the state and indeed the nation than the current consideration by Gray Davis of inventing new ways to tax families and small businesses. Gray Davis has now proposed implementing a tax on Internet commerce for any company with a retail outlet in California. This will provide one more means for the government to collect more of your money so that corrupted and incompetent politicians like Gray Davis can mismanage it.
    California and The Nation Still Suffer from the Davis Power Crisis: Californians are paying the highest utility bills in the nation because of Davis’ gross mishandling of the state’s power crisis. This has hurt other states as well as the notoriety of the California Energy Crisis created a disincentive for other states to explore reforms to public power agencies as the means of providing affordable electricity to the public.
    The People’s Property For Sale – Selling the Government for Campaign Cash: In the past year, numerous allegations have emerged concerning the role of fundraising in the administration of Gray Davis’ duties as Governor. Questions have been raised over whether campaign contributions affected the Davis’ Administration change of heart in allowing cancer causing dioxin to be dumped into our water ways. The California Teachers Association – long an ally of Democrat Party candidates – was even faced with an extortion demand for $1 MILLION while meeting with Davis in the Governor’s office to discuss educational reforms to benefit children.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* ILGOP pledges to "continue to oppose taxpayer funding of abortion"
* The Madigan PR campaign continues
* Climate change denier warns of mob violence if renewable energy is expanded
* Pritzker, Frerichs announce loan program for furloughed federal workers
* Today's quotable
* A twofer for Preckwinkle
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to this morning's edition
* Question of the day
* First Class all the way
* Manteno Veterans' Home tests show "low levels of Legionellosis"
* Pritzker signs EO committing Illinois to Paris Climate Agreement
* The Dome is leaking
* It's Time To Put Our Progressive Values Into Action
* More on Pritzker's HB40 EO
* Yeah, that'll work well
* Report: Ald. Solis recorded conversations with Ald. Burke
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller