We already know from four years of campaigning that Rod Blagojevich will say anything as long as it fits a campaign strategy. It is a helpful trait for his handlers but it is also the reason the public doesn't trust him, as reflected in poor poll numbers.
He's off to quite a start in this campaign. His first ad was not only fake, but probably illegal. His latest ad is quintessential Blagojevich phony-baloney.
Blagojevich criticizes opponent Judy Baar Topinka for never attending meetings of a little-known state board.
The new 15-second Blagojevich advertisement, which was introduced at a news conference by Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, joins at least five Blagojevich campaign spots already running statewide.
The new commercial accuses Topinka of missing every meeting of the Illinois State Board of Investment, a nine-member board that manages $10 billion in state pension money.
The ad doesn't say that Topinka is "ex-officio" member of the board, which means in government parlance that she's an honorary member. Topinka sends a surrogate to the meetings â€” a fact also not mentioned.
It is well known within government that the Governor of Illinois is ex-officio member of a few boards himself and, over the years, rarely if ever attends board meetings.
Rod is ex-officio member of the boards of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and University of Illinois, among others. We can find no record of him attending either.
Rod and his campaign know that governors and other top officials who are ex-officio members don't attend meetings nor are they expected to. So Rod is using hundreds of thousands of dollars from a campaign fund under federal investigation to throw this phony garbage on the airwaves. For Rod, par for the course.
For Pat Quinn, who used to have a reputation for fighting for clean, honest government, it marks his descent into the pit of sleazy politics he used to abhor. We wondered whether he would distance himself from Rod to try to preserve his reputation on ethics or throw it all away in a reflex of self-preservation. On Sunday, when Quinn unveiled this phony ad, we got our answer.