The Vindication of Spiro T. Agnew

The First Essential Truth

This morning, shortly after the alarm went off and I turned on the TV to catch up with the burgeoning news of the day to come.  The announcers were bubbling over with excitement; Christmas had come early.  Today’s gift came in the form of a newsbreak about Rod R. Blagojevich, the sitting governor of Illinois, being arrested at his home for corruption.  This wasn’t your ordinary run of the mill taking bribes or kickbacks for a permit exception or zoning change.  No, this was much more grandiose in conception; the Illinois governor was offering the seat vacated by President-elect Barrack Obama who could afford the right price.  This caught the attention of the FBI who then found a boatload of other scams and enough dirty money to raise the eyebrow of Meyer Lansky.

Of course, the network and cable news networks were in sensationalism and analyst overload.  They election cycle had been boring this year, rather civil actually.  The most interesting thing going was Obama’s phrasing of a standard Democratic tax plan in the language of Socialism but the network analysts, even this Fox folks, missed it.  They just preferred to call him a proto-Soviet. (Whoever ran the Obama campaign used Karl Rove’s playbook to appeal to the far left Liberal’s who were just out of the Democratic sphere of influence.  I seem to recall hearing Old Lefties in bars complaining they didn’t know how they were going to beat the Republicans because they had no message to present to the country not a year earlier.  It appears even political functionaries are human beings and can adapt.)  As for Obama being of mixed race, to bring that up would have been not so much distasteful as so 1953.  But now, here comes Blagojevich with a bit of political sliminess is right out Warren G. Harding Playbook.

Already under investigation for various venal sins by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who, much like his predecessor Kenneth Starr, is a DA who can’t indict right?  At least Starr got an impeachment against Bill Clinton for something he actually did: lying about oral sex.  The best Fitzgerald could do was convict I. ‘Scooter’ Libby for the big mouth of moronic syndicated columnist and notorious anti-Semite Robert Novak.  This guy isn’t about to have anyone quaking in his or her boots, especially a politician like Blagojevich who came out of the Democratic Daley Machine in Chicago.  The Illinois governor must have thought he was made of Teflon, despite his 13% approval rating (lowest in Illinois history).  So much so, that he took on the editorial pages of the Chicago Tribune, demanding the firings or resignations of those that were critical of his leadership of the Land of Lincoln.

We know all these things not because of a multi-page indictment handed down by a Federal Grand Jury in Cook County but because Fitzgerald the Inept got lucky and was able to have Rod Blagojevich’s office, office phone and home phone bugged.  If you were a politician and your two main fundraisers, in this case Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine who were indicted a few months earlier in a scheme to obtain kickbacks for business deals from state boards, you might think about not talking to anyone about anything vaguely criminal conspiracy oriented.   If those devices can be telephonically monitored by the FBI they should be gotten rid of immediately, any fan of the Soprano’s, GoodFella’s or the Godfather could tell you that.

Apparently, this never occurred to Blagojevich, who is also not a fan of the Gangster or Film Noir genres.  He talked openly about how much Obama’s senate seat would cost, either in cash or a seat on a board of directors for his wife.  If his price wasn’t met, Blagojevich would take the seat and steal even more money from his constituents and then run for President in 2016.  Not to mention the discussions of his so-called “$25,000 Club;” union members and others contribute $25,000 to his election coffers and they get state benefits. 

The Spiro Agnew parallels have just begun but are inexact at best.  Yes, both are elected officials involved in mail and wire fraud, plus criminal conspiracies and bribery but Agnew took his bribes and kickbacks from the construction industry in Annapolis, Maryland (while governor of that state) and Washington DC.  When the most corrupt industry know to man got tired of paying more than their 10% to the house, they complained to the authorities. Blagojevich refused to give $8 million in state funds to the Children’s Hospital of Chicago unless the board of directors found it in their hearts to give him a $50,000 campaign contribution.  Agnew was a scumbag taking money from scumbags.  Rod Blagojevich is battering for cash over the lives of sick children, just like a good Nazi.

As I read more and more about the case against Governor Blagojevich, I found myself laughing.  The impossible was happening: Spiro Agnew was being vindicated.  Santa Claus must exist.




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