Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blagojevich Lesson: Don't Say It

Many are shocked by the Blagojevich scandal because of his brazen quid pro quos: given my campaign $1MM to get the senate seat, give my campaign $50k for a state investment in children's hospitals, give my wife a comfy board seat.

As this article notes:
"People give campaign contributions and expect things in exchange," he said. "It's all perfectly legal."

So it's a given that politicians sometimes indulge in a form of give-and-take.

"Deals are made all the time in politics," said Daniel Lowenstein, a professor at UCLA Law School. "Our system couldn't operate without it."

I think in this case, the veneer of objectivity is a useful line in the sand. We all understand that in business, or politics, making a decision that generates a lot of revenue for someone implies a favor was given, and one is expected in return. But to say that explicitly really takes the situation in a bad direction.

2 comments:

Burr Deming said...

Blagojevich seems to have modeled himself after a combination of the Sopranos and the Three Stooges.

Anonymous said...

No doubt influence peddling is ineradicable.

What I hope for is politicians who keep it within some rational bounds. Politicians who come from a successful career can say no more often because they don’t need the job and are more likely to be “in it” to campaign for principles. Lifers- the guys on the High School student body, campus politics, gopher party jobs, adoption by local kingpin career path-- are the absolute worst. There is no higher idea than to get the next position and no circumspection in selling influence. Exceptions abound, but I think this is generally true.

If you live in a “termed out” state, its pathetic watching these politicians chasing the next seat, horse-trading (I’ll move to county supervisor and hand you my School Board seat if you get my wife a do-nothing at HQ).