Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fun in politics

On today's "Talk of the Nation" on NPR they are discussing the most corrupt states. They haven't revealed #1 or 2 yet, but Florida and Texas have to be up there. It's true that other states have governor's resigning in sex scandals, but Florida and Texas have a certain style about them. An air of circus folk. Being from Virginia, I've always been a little dismayed at how dignified our government tends to be-- it's admirable, but it lacks something in entertainment value. The late, great Molly Ivins once observed: "If you can't drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money and vote against 'em anyway, you don't belong in Texas politics." The same is true in Virginia, but they tend to maintain that Jeffersonian air of dignity, despite the best attempts of some individual members, like the extended session where every time a certain delegate rose to speak, the entire Assembly would make various barnyard noises, honoring the fact that this delegate was a veterinarian.

Florida, though, has it all: Convicted felons being voted into office, occasionally while still in jail; dead people voting (Miami); legislators hiring hit men to take out members of another family; corruption; vote rigging; you name it.

Today the talk is about the soon-to-be-ex-Governor of Illinois who has been arrested and charged with trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. What elevates this story to the stratosphere of stupidity is that he was already being investigated at the time FOR CORRUPTION. And he KNEW IT. What was the train of thought that lead him to say, "You know, I know that they're looking hard at me for corruption charges, so I think I'll make a phone call from my office phone and discuss the fact that the person Obama wants to succeed him in his Senate seat hasn't yet coughed up a big enough bribe." As BikerDude aptly pointed out: When you start taking bids for a public office, you have to know that the person who places the second-place bid is going to report you!

I agree with Molly that politics is the greatest form of entertainment that our country has ever come up with, and that we're going to have to pay for it anyway, so we might as well enjoy the show. Here's to Governor Blagojevich for providing this week's stunning entertainment.

1 comment:

John said...

You have to include Rhode Island in your list, as well. A state that has each branch of government take its fair turn at being investigated and indicted. It's one thing to indict the governor - but when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is indicted for corruption, you know you're dealing with professionals.