* 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