Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Rod Blagojevich isn’t really much of a Democrat

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Originally published on on Wed, 12/10/2008 – 10:40am

We rail on government corruption — Democratic or Republican. Usually, the Republicans commit far worse atrocities (George W. Bush, torture; Eliot Spitzer, prostitutes).

And the public is having fun with Rod Blagojevich, who is a Democrat. But how much of a Democrat is Rod Blagojevich?

If you are in Chicago politics, to get anywhere, you have to be a Democrat. Doesn’t matter what you believe, you have to be a Democrat. We have no Republicans serving in U.S. Congress from any district that touches the city. We have 1 Chicago alderman who is a Republican.

And if you are the son-in-law of powerful Chicago alderman Richard Mell, are you really going to be a Republican?

So where does Rod Blagojevich fit into the Democratic picture? According to Wikipedia, Blagojevich voted for Ronald Reagan for president in the 1980s. Once or twice, we don’t know, but certainly not a good sign. But it gets worse.

His political hero is Richard Nixon. I was watching the local PBS station rerun a story it did as he was first running for governor in 2002. When Blagojevich went to New York as a young man in 1980, he excitedly waited for Nixon to come out to get his autograph.

Blagojevich was representing the 5th Congressional District when the vote came up to authorize the invasion of Iraq. He was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of the bill and the only Democrat from Illinois.

I live in the 5th Congressional District. If you took a poll in my neighborhood, the push for war in Iraq would have received a huge thumbs-down.

This doesn’t mean he is not a Democrat. But there are other signs.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn barely speaks to the governor. Attorney General Lisa Madigan also says she hardly talks to the governor. If you subtract party labels, there are more conservative people who might like what Blagojevich has done. His stubborn refusal to raise taxes in any form has led to underfunding and huge budget deficits.

If it’s possible for Democrats to hate a Democratic politician more than Blagojevich, even before Tuesday’s steaming mess, well besides Joe Lieberman, let’s just say there are few who can wear the shoes of Blagojevich.

Thanks to the intricacies of Illinois politics, where governors and lieutenant governors live in separate bubbles, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn really is a Democrat. Often, mainstream media and conservative Democrats have criticized Quinn as being too far to the left. Quinn can be accused of caring too much and focusing most often on the taxpayer, but we could use that kind of love.

Even if Quinn does rise to being the governor, he will be met by several people looking to reach that bar. Lisa Madigan will likely be one gubernatorial candidate, even though her stepfather is the long-time Speaker of the House. But at least, the Democrats involved will be more like Democrats than Blagojevich.


Written by democracysoup

December 10, 2008 at 10:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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