Thursday, May 18, 2006

Buyer's remorse, four years later


While the Sun-Times news staff was hustling to get ahead of the Tribune on the Rod Blagojevich hiring scandal story, the editorial board was rousing from a deep sleep.

I like many of the members of the Sun-Times board, but they are a little behind the curve when it comes to sniffing out Blagojevich corruption.

You'd think the Sun-Times would have noticed that Rod Blagojevich was less than a reformer when it saw his uncanny fundraising ability, the multiple federal investigations and the hundreds of pay-to-play newspaper articles from around the state. Until today, however, the Sun-Times was sticking by the man it endorsed four years ago with the following words.
Rod Blagojevich will usher in a new era in state government, and after all the scandal and acrimony of recent years, we are eager to see it.
Today, finally, the "favors list" uncovered by Sun-Times reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney made the light go on in the editorial board room and the ST realized what nearly every newspaper editorial board grasped four years ago: Rod is not sincere on ethics.
When Gov. Blagojevich said he was going to "rock the boat" in Springfield and conduct business differently than his predecessor, the electorate wanted to believe him. They were tired of scandals that had besmirched the George Ryan administration. They were eager for wholesome government, free of patronage hiring, backroom deals, favors for political contributors. They wanted a cleansing of the corruption that had mired Ryan's tenure and ended with federal convictions.

With the mayor's former director of intergovernmental affairs on trial, George Ryan convicted of 22 federal counts and the feds zeroing in on the governor's office, it's hard for voters to believe they are being served well, and honestly, by their lawmakers. Disappointment isn't even a strong enough word for how most of us feel.
It's never too late to come around.

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