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Tribune now favors pre-impeachment hearings

Monday, Sep 29, 2008

* Today’s Tribune editorial makes a stunning prediction in its opening paragraph…

After what has happened in the last few days, it’s more likely that Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be indicted or impeached or both.

* The Trib goes on to reference the allegations of a stepped-up investigation against Blagojevich and his wife, and last week’s appellate court ruling which stopped the governor from implementing a new program without legislative approval. The Tribsters say all we can do is wait and see what Patrick Fitzgerald does, but

Blagojevich’s attempt to go around lawmakers and spend money they didn’t approve for a vast health care program may be just as insidious as his pay-to-play politics. His effort to expand health care through the program known as FamilyCare was soundly rejected by the Illinois legislature. But he did it anyway, spending millions of dollars to broaden eligibility for state-funded health care to people with higher family incomes.

* And that leads us to the Tribune’s flip-flop on impeachment…

Earlier this year, this page strongly supported a movement to give voters the chance, through a constitutional amendment, to recall public officials. We said at the time that impeachment of the governor shouldn’t be pursued. But this court ruling on his health care gamble gives reason to revisit that.

Democratic Rep. Jack Franks has encouraged House Speaker Michael Madigan to convene a committee to investigate if articles of impeachment are warranted. That seems like a sound idea.

So, they’re not exactly in favor of impeachment, just in favor of holding hearings to see whether impeachment is warranted. But that’s a start. The Blagojevich administration was spinning last June’s wishy-washy editorial as a stern warning against holding preliminary impeachment hearings. I can’t wait to see the react to this one.

…Adding… But will the governor even read the editorial?

[Blagojevich was] appearing on WGN on a panel of Tribune sportswriters and a couple former Cub players assigned the task of compiling the best all-Chicago baseball team of all time.

Upon his introduction, the governor said it’s great to be with all the sportswriters.

“It’s the only part of the newspaper I read.”

Yeah. I’m sure.

* Related…

* Blagojevich can’t expand state-subsidized health care without lawmakers’ approval, appellate court rules

* Court denies Blagojevich health care expansion

* Court blocks Blagojevich’s health-care expansion

* Rezko saga hits big time in SNL debate

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Bill - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:38 am:

    I’d say that the Trib is just trying to sell papers but they are giving it away free today. Not many takers from what I saw today.

  2. - Bassman - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:38 am:

    The Illinois Constitution does not offer a minimum standard for impeachment, and the Legislature rightly holds this option as a last resort. However, with overt and obvious quid pro quo of the Governor’s pay to play campaign contribution scams, political extortion of state resources, e.g. closing state site or else, and his rewriting of legislation in deference to his constitutional mandate, holding off on impeachment might become criminal in itself. Time for leadership boys and girls…get to it.

  3. - Fan of the Game - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:46 am:

    Nice deflection, Bill.

    Impeachment should be a vehicle of last resort, but that does not mean it should never be utilized. If the facts (not innuendo or accusations) warrant impeachment proceedings, then they should begin.

    I don’t understand, however, how the ruling in the health care expansion case changes the Tribune editorial board’s collective mind on impeachment. The governor tried something, he was called on it, and the court ruled against him. It happens from time to time, but it doesn’t rise to the impeachment level.

  4. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:48 am:

    Impeachment hearings would be the right thing to do, especially since the Speaker has already produced a long list of the reasons why impeachment should be investigated. That, of course, won’t happen because it is far more politically benficial for the Speaker to have a damaged Governor in office than an inspired reformer.

    Who cares whether the Land of Lincoln bleeds and it’s people suffer?

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:50 am:

    They’ve been staggered by changes in their industry, but the Trib is still a power in this state that has to be dealt with. If nothing else, their call for hearings provides encouragement and cover for those who want to pursue that course of action.

  6. - Trib Hater - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:52 am:

    Can we please talk about the Trib’s horrible new design? Momma Trib scrapped biz and metro sections. And renaming Tempo doesn’t make it any better. Who ever knew that Red Eye would be the better content in the Trib empire.

  7. - GOP'er - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 9:57 am:

    But who would Tom Cross and other Republicans partner with on gambling and pork barrel spending if Blagojevich wasn’t around?

  8. - GoBearsss - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    Regarding the new design -

    You can put lipstick on a pig….

  9. - GoBearsss - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Frankly - the fact that the Governor attempting to expand affordable healthcare to middle class families was the tipping point for the Ivory Tower tells you all you need to know about their character.

    That same tone-deafness to the plight of real people has led to the diminished quality of their editorial page more than anything.

    I mean, their star columnist is still John Kass. John Freakin’ “Real governor Jimmy DeLeo” Kass.

  10. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    By the time Blagojevich did his “testicular virility” press conference back in 2005, there were enough evidence to start impeachment proceedings simply based on Blagojevich’s inability to do his job. His famous comment was in response to the weeks and months of valid criticism over his gubernatorial failures. Remember?

    When a governor is a flop, and we all see him as one, we need to get rid of him. If we believe the Office is important enough to honor and look toward for state leadership, we should also recognize the necessity to protect it from elected failures. This idea that politicians who win elections are worthier to protect than the offices they hold is a false one.

    We need to stop demonizing impeachment. It isn’t a death sentence - even politically. It is a legitimate action to be taken by citizens when they do not see the actions they mandated. When Blagojevich started flaying, he should have been shown the door. As we fiddled on our duty to rid Illinois of a provenly poor governor, he raised millions in cash and stopped governing in order to do it. Blagojevich was about as AWOL a governor could be. Woodrow Wilson post-stroke was more effective in office than Blagojevich on a good day.

    By demanding that our governors be held accountable for their work and impeached when they do not work out, perhaps we will start seeing politicians taking their elected responsibilities seriously. State government is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Locking in a poor performer for four years because we think removing them would be disruptive, doesn’t take into effect the disruption we’ve witnessed since 2003.

    So the Tribune suggest holding pre-impreachment hearings? Sheesh!

    Had we impeached Blagojevich in 2005 when we should have could have helped prevent him from committing more malfeasance which is obviously being exposed soon. How long do we let an incompetent operate the machinery of government after their first accidents?

    Electing ambitious politicians who have no sincerity to performing their elected jobs, but merely interested in White House dreams should be impeached as soon as their ruse is exposed. We don’t need them. They shouldn’t be elected president either.

  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    The concept that the executive can only spend what the legislature appropriates is a bedrock principle of the separation of powers, as the third branch, the judiciary, so clearly affirmed last week.

    If you’re willing to toss that concept aside for “good things,” be prepared for an executive with unchecked power — there’s a word for that — to do bad things, too. And there won’t be anything that anyone can do about it.

    Here at least, good intentions or being “right” doesn’t justify unfettered power. Thank God.

  12. - anon - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    “The concept that the executive can only spend what the legislature appropriates is a bedrock principle of the separation of powers, as the third branch, the judiciary, so clearly affirmed last week.”

    The Governor does not do this all by himself, he has help in the form of advisors. All the new ways to spend money by the executive branch (raiding funds, “opportunity funds”, “shared services”, ignoring the legislature, arguing with the auditor general, consolidations that generated huge consultation fees, and on and on…) were invented by John Filan.

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 11:16 am:

    Anon, the buck stops with Blago. John Filan couldn’t do bupkis on his own.

  14. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 11:31 am:

    In the bizarro world of Illinois Government, it’s worse to be impeached or to resign than be indicted. I for one would rather see a guy say, I just couldn’t handle the job and go off into the sunset with his life and family intact than be dragged out kicking and screaming. Innocent until proven guilty shouldn’t always be a basis for who governs in our State.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:32 pm:

    re: Tribune redesign…

    I don’t buy the dead trees edition, so I don’t care. lol

  16. - DzNts - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    Dudley’s acknowledgement that he only reads the sports pages should not be shocking. First you start with “See Spot Run”, then “Come Along, Bunny”. At some point in the intellectual process, you move up to pop-up books, comic books and then sports pages. Still, lots of pictures, some occasional thought-provoking columnists, but it’s clearly not at the level of understanding the sarcasm of a John Kass. We know that eventually Dudley did go to law school, but the history of failure of mastering Prosser on Torts is public knowledge.

    Whether indictment or impeachment, he’ll have ample time to keep up with the pictures and box scores at significantly less cost or danger to Illinois taxpayers.

  17. - Captain America - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 1:39 pm:

    I don’t see anything shockingly offensive about the Tribune’s new design - there certainly are lots of large color pictures. I’m more concerned about the long term-effects of the cuts in nuts-and-bolts journalist staff/reporting.

    I’m resigned to the necessity of seeking alternative national and local news sources - like Capitol Fax - when converage of important isssues is neglected, or when-in-depth information is desirable.

  18. - Captain America - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 2:08 pm:

    Governor Pinocchio: When you and/or your wife are indicted, please resign expeditiously, to end our long State nightmare.

    Spare us all the unpleasant necessity,expense, and controversy of impeaching you. No one, except your attorneys, are going to believe you when you “doth protest your innocence too much.”

    Furthermore, I don’t think you’ll be able to afford your legal defense costs, now that the “pay-to-play” ban has survived your “poison pen” veto.

    When Fitz comes calling please play “Let’s make a deal.” Your father-in-law, the old gringo, will take care of your wife and kids, while you pay your debt to society.

    Pinnochio: When you get out, you’ll have a bright future as a Wall Street derivative broker/con man. You’re just as dumb as the rest of them - so you’ll fit right in. Suggest you specialize in “boondoggles.”

  19. - Levois - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 3:04 pm:

    LOL @ some of these comments. I wonder if he has enough dignity or testicular virility to give up his job if he hadn’t a choice.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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