Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Lesser Class of Rogue

The stories about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have been stunning -- with revelations of his boundless intent on corruption, as well as a knack for unceasing profanity. Yet Blagojevich has also displayed a canny audacity at his recent press conference, when he announced his choice of Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.

There was something theatrical in Blagojevich's delight, as he attempted to out-maneuver everyone with a choice that would be politically difficult to reject. If anything could, rejecting an up-standing, path-breaking African-American politician to fill the seat of the only black senator in Congress would be a tough call.

Blagojevich is regularly described as the apotheosis of the shady Illinois politician -- a genus that rivals the Louisiana and Jersey City variety for chicanery. At times, he seems a throwback to the days of machine politics, when the favor bank was bigger than the local savings and loan.

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