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12/12/2008
BLAGO STINK IS EXPANDING

The Blago Blow-Up is beginning to churn like the contents of one’s stomach following a helping of bad escargot. You begin to realize you just ate a heaping, steaming plate of snail flesh and begin to wonder if it will just give you gas or perhaps end up deposited unceremoniously on the floor — a stinking, putrid mass that slowly spreads across the linoleum.

In Rahm Emanuel’s case, I think it about time that we officially begin the “Emanuel Under the Bus Toss Watch.” Reports are circulating that Obama’s trusty aide and Chief of Staff-designate met with Blago’s people several times regarding the open senate seat.

Is it possible Emanuel met with Blago’s people without the president elect knowing? This is important because Obama looked us all in the eye yesterday and said he wasn’t aware of any contact between his staff and Blagojevich regarding the senate seat. Emanuel will probably say he never informed Obama about the meetings but that doesn’t pass the stink test. Obama wanted his best friend and confidante Valerie Jarrett in that seat and simple common sense tells us that his #1 aide would keep the boss informed of his progress.

Not only Obama’s denial of contact rings hollow at this point but how about his solemn promise to have his staff canvass his transition team in order to ferret out anyone who had contact with the Blago crew? If he knew Rahm was dealing with Blago on the senate seat, it means that entire excersise is political theater and no more.

And what of Emanuel, the man who promised us transparency and openness in this Hope and Change administration? Here’s an example of transparency, Chicago style:

Emanuel was uncharacteristically absent from Obama’s news conference this morning. He was spotted two hours later in the lobby of Chicago’s City Hall. He was there to listen to his two children performing in a concert with their school, Anshe Emet.

A Sun-Times reporter pressed him to comment about whether he was the emissary named in the criminal complaint.

“You’re wasting your time,” Emanuel said. “I’m not going to say a word to you. I’m going to do this with my children. Dont do that. I’m a father. I have two kids. I’m not going to do it.”

Asked, “Can’t you do both?” Emanuel replied, “I’m not as capable as you. I’m going to be a father. I’m allowed to be a father,” and he pushed the reporter’s digital recorder away.

Now that’s the Chicago Way of ditching reporters.

Eventually, we may get another bit of political theater; the spectacle of Emanuel going before the cameras and tearing up as he talks about how he only wanted to give Obama a Christmas present of Valerie Jarrett’s appointment by Blagojevich which is why he wanted it to be a surprise and never told the president-elect. Obama will be by his side, give him a big hug, and the press will forget the whole thing.

That’s one scenario. Another, more likely chain of events ends up with Emanuel’s exposure as a willing participant in what the feds may consider a bribery scheme to secure Jarrett’s appointment as senator. Obama would have no choice but to throw Rahmbo under the bus while questions would continue to be asked about his own knowledge of what was being discussed between his chief of staff and the governor’s people.

How bad is it for Mr. Transparency? Caught in a couple of lies before you’re even sworn in as president would not be good but is hardly impeachable. Bribery is going to be very hard to differentiate from political horse trading which is not illegal but sure gives the lie to Obama’s “Hope and Change” mantra. At the very least, the stink of this scandal will follow Obama into the White House.

He apparently tried to avoid it. Whether because he was unwilling to pay Blago’s price or recognized how exposed he was, this timeline by Jim Lindgren at Volokh shows that something strange happened between the time Obama let it be known that Jarrett was his choice to fill the senate vacancy and his announcement that he was appointing the Chicago machine pol to a White House position:

1. On the weekend of Nov. 8-9, Obama lets it be known that his choice for Senate is Valerie Jarrett. Aides tell WLS-TV in Chicago and CNN, which announces Obama’s choice on Sunday. Nov. 9.

2. On Monday, Nov. 10, Blagojevich holds an incredible 2-hour conference call with multiple consultants: “ROD BLAGOJEVICH, his wife, JOHN HARRIS, Governor General Counsel, and various Washington-D.C. based advisors, including Advisor B,” discussing his corrupt schemes. He follows this with two calls with Advisor A.

3. That very night, Monday, Nov. 10, at 7:56pm, CNN reported:

Two Democratic sources close to President-elect Barack Obama tell CNN that top adviser Valerie Jarrett will not be appointed to replace him in the U.S. Senate.

“While he (Obama) thinks she would be a good senator, he wants her in the White House,” one top Obama advisor told CNN Monday.

Over the weekend, Democratic sources had told CNN as well as Chicago television station WLS-TV that Jarrett was Obama’s choice to fill his Senate seat.

So what happened? The likeliest scenario is that one of the many participants in Blagojevich’s Monday phone calls either floated his plans to the Obama transition team to assess their response or tipped off the Obama camp about the reckless ideas that Blagojevich had planned.

In any event, within hours of Blagojevich substantially expanding his circle of confidants, the Obama camp withdrew Jarrett’s name from consideration and attributed that withdrawal to the President’s wanting Jarrett in the White House. And the Obama staffers went out of their way to depict this as Obama’s choice, rather than Jarrett’s, which would have been more common. The report claims Obama’s involvement in the decision and suggests a direct effort to undercut the idea that Obama was pressuring Blagojevich to appoint Jarrett.

I tend to believe that Obama saw a train wreck coming and yanked Jarrett away from trouble while trying to cover his own tracks with double talk about needing Jarrett in the White House. At the time, of course, he didn’t know about the wiretaps on Blago’s phone that could trip him up later.

As a Chicago pol, Obama has a well developed sense of potential exposure to the kind of cesspool politics played out in this entire affair. His instincts must have been on full alert once he was sure that Blago was shopping his seat to the highest bidder - no doubt informed of this by Emanuel who it is inferred through a phonecon between Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris (also arrested) was being threatened with the appointment of someone unpalatable (”Candidate #5″ - Jackson) unless Obama upped the ante.

And speaking of Jackson, this bit of news dug out by the Chicago Tribune is very bad for him. Jesse The Younger’s Campaign finance surrogate had a meeting with Blago’s representative back in October where he offered $1 million in campaign contributions for the senate seat. Jackson had a press conference where he said he had no knowledge of this offer and yet, just last Saturday - three days before Blago’s arrest - he held a fundraiser for Blagojevich where the express purpose was to help him secure the senate seat.

As Gov. Rod Blagojevich was trying to pick Illinois’ next U.S. senator, businessmen with ties to both the governor and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. discussed raising at least $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign as a way to encourage him to pick Jackson for the job, the Tribune has learned.

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson’s bid for the Senate.

Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt.

That meeting led to a Blagojevich fundraiser Saturday in Elmhurst, co-sponsored by Nayak and attended by Jesse Jackson Jr.’s brother, Jonathan, as well as Blagojevich, according to several people who were there. Nayak and Jonathan Jackson go back years and the two even went into business together years ago as part of a land purchase on the South Side.

Blagojevich and the congressman met to discuss the Senate seat on Monday, one day before federal prosecutors arrested Blagojevich and charged him with trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. As part of the charges, prosecutors alleged that Blagojevich was considering awarding the seat to a politician identified as “Senate Candidate 5″ because emissaries for that candidate were promising to raise as much as $1.5 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund.

Not only does this put Jackson totally out of the running for the senate seat but it is obvious he has not been forthcoming about what he knows with regards to Blago’s attempt to sell the senate seat. The fact that his own brother attended the fundraiser guarantees he knew about it and also knew what price he had to pay in order to get the appointment. This makes the statements he made at his press conference “inoperative” as they say in Chicago.

And what of Obama’s statements? Will they be identified as “misstatements” or perhaps there will be claims that Obama “misspoke?” And what of Emanuel? His reluctance to talk to the press is understandable in light of the fact that there is no good explanation for how he could have spoken to Blago’s people and not told Obama.

The right thing to do would be for Obama, Emanuel, Jarrett, and anyone else who had contact with Blago’s people to stand before the press and tell us what they know - “full hangout route” as they said during Watergate. More likely is the “limited hang-out route” where some minor things will be admitted and other, more serious allegations denied.

That’s the “Washington Way.”

By: Rick Moran at 1:16 pm
20 Responses to “BLAGO STINK IS EXPANDING”
  1. 1
    jambrowski Said:
    2:01 pm 

    more like the Chicago surrogate Washington (or vice versus) way… basically you are saying nothing will happen except to Jackson and Blago, oh and let’s not forget Fitzgerald (Obama has to be regretting what he said about not getting rid of him now), maybe Fitz should be our President, unflappable fellow…

  2. 2
    michael reynolds Said:
    2:04 pm 

    I think you’re right that Emmanuel is about chest deep in this. I doubt he’s dumb enough to have said anything he shouldn’t on a phone line. And I doubt he’d be speaking for Obama if he made any unethical offer.

    But we’ll see. And I’ve overestimated the IQ of pols before — we all thought Nixon was too smart to bug the Dem offices at the Watergate.

    What I find fascinating is the eagerness of so many on the right to crow about the end of hope and change. I think you’ve given last rights to hope and change on half a dozen occasions already.

    Is that really where the GOP wants to go? You have nothing of your own to offer so you want to identify yourselves as the prophets of doom? And when doom doesn’t arrive? What do have then?

    You’re fighting straw men. And you’re going to lose your battle with straw men. And then what are you?

    The end of hope and change means the end of hypocrisy. That’s why we’re “crowing.” Lord even you say Obama is just another politician. Time everybody else - especially the press - acknowledged that.

    ed.

  3. 3
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    3:25 pm 

    “Caught in a couple of lies before you’re even sworn in as president would not be good but is hardly impeachable.

    I’m pretty much convinced by now that there isn’t really a whole lot that the President of the United States can actually be impeached for anymore.

  4. 4
    Bosslowrider Said:
    4:01 pm 

    It jes gits curiouser and curiouser, don’t it?

    Sorry to inform you Mr Reynolds, but I gave up on hope and change as soon as That One recycled every old Clinton hack he could find.
    Touche’?

  5. 5
    John Howard Said:
    6:57 pm 

    It’s not the act that gets you; it’s the cover-up. But they never learn.

  6. 6
    Richard Novak Said:
    8:20 pm 

    Of course.it’s political theater on Mr. Obama’s part. Chicago poltics is nothing more than that. And it is Chicago, as The Wife is daughter of powerful Alderman Richard Mell. No one gets anywhere without knowing what’s going on, and at least, not making waves.

    54 years in this area, and nothing changes - not even the names.

    Love & blessings
    Richard

  7. 7
    retire05 Said:
    10:07 pm 

    michael reynolds, just what is it you think you liberals have to offer? Without the “doom and gloom” philosophy, the Democrats would have nothing. “The War is Lost; Global Warming is going to cause us all to drown; unemployment is at an all time high; etc, ect, ect”. What else have you got? If you could not play on the “we are all going to hell in a handbasket” meme, you would be out of business.

    But you see, some of us were smart enough to know that Obama is just another pol out of the most corrupt city in the nation; Chicago. He is not new, he is not different, he is not “hopey change”. Just your typical Chicago pol who knows that you get somewhere by greasing the skids.

    So it is going to be a fun four year watching the MSM try to cover for a guy doing the things they have been accusing Bush of doing for the last eight years.

  8. 8
    Jack Kassidy Said:
    2:59 am 

    Obama wasn’t involved.

    I love to hear the right wing hate and paranoia. It’s going to make me feel even better on Inauguration day.

  9. 9
    busboy33 Said:
    7:13 am 

    Just so I’m on the same page here, the worst implication against Obama is that he knew Blogo was a slimeball and both (a) didn’t turn him in and (b) denied knowing he was a slimeball (lied to the American public), presumably to avoid dealing with why he did (a)?

    If I got the full info from the Blogo taps already released and from Fitzgerald (who at this point doesn’t seem like he’s a “I’ll coverup your dirt for a favor or some grease” kind of guy), Obama isn’t suggested at all in any kind of concession to Blogo, and Blogo cussing him out for NOT making him an offer seems to be clear.

    . . . then the only point (I stress so far, as there may well be more info) is to illustrate that Obama isn’t the second coming of Christ? Not playing dirty, not taking/giving bribes, but just doesn’t drop a dime on those that do?

    I can live with that, especially as I never thought he walked on water in the first place. Hate to say it (and perhaps this says more about me than him), but I respect him even more if that’s true. He can deal with some unsavory characters and not get sucked into that lifestyle.

    Assuming the above scenario is true . . . how would the anti-O crowd suggest he have handled it? Obviously, calling the authorities would be the most upright course of action, but is he going to be able to function effective as a politician if he does? He goes to lunch with another senator to try and get legislation passed, and the 2nd senator pays for the lunch with his re-election campaign credit card (a crime if they didn’t deal with that). Obama chooses to pay for his meal himself, refusing the other pols offer to pay, and stops dealing with that person.
    Granted the above hypothetical is poorly constructed, but nevertheless should Obama report the other person? I suppose he should, in a perfect world. I’m not offended if he didn’t though. Obviously selling Senate seats is far, far more serious, and if the hypothetical substituted “assaulting and killing hookers” for “misusing campaign funds” then simply staying out of the mix isn’t acceptable. I suppose then that the issue for me is whether the Blogo bribe soliciting merits calling authorities, and I guess I can see the practical reality of not doing it, especially in that environment (politics). Mabye I’ve just become so jaded that simply seeing a politician NOT engaging in dirt is acceptable to me, which would be a sad statement.

    I’m not sure how much of this “getting the MSM to stop the Messiah propaganda” is grounded in reality though. Saying that he is for “hope and change” and is a “fresh breeze” and all that other stuff seems to be a far cry from “his tears cure cancer” and “his children were concieved immaculately”. Obama has admitted to past drug use, and other unsavory behavior in his past. He stil smokes (occasionally) cigarettes. Thinking he’s going to be a more honest President, with more integrity, isn’t the same thing as “incapable of observing sin without vomiting”.

  10. 10
    Santay Said:
    9:44 am 

    Obama will slide out of this with some artful doubletalk. Jonah Goldberg put it best, “he’s the first man in history who can pick up manure from the clean end”.

  11. 11
    funny man Said:
    10:45 am 

    busboy:
    I kind of have to agree with you here. It is interesting though that everyone on most conservative websites is concentrating on Obama not on the vacated senate seat where I think we would have a realistic chance. Blago is a slimeball of the lowest order but I don’t think Obama is going to be much effected. More importantly, there are more pressing issues now such as the auto industry and a guy defrauding investors of up to 50 billion. Just a thought.

  12. 12
    Increase Mather Said:
    10:54 am 

    Mike Barnicle on MSNBC is calling for the media to “move on” from this “diversion”. Meanwhile the big nets’ “news” programs are downplaying Obama’s aids involvements…and mostly not even mentioning that Hot Rod is a Democrat.

    More of the same from the media.

  13. 13
    Andrew Said:
    12:12 pm 

    No. I don’t think Obama was directly involved. Likely only his chief of staff.
    Between the (intercepted?) conference call on the 10th of November and the 7:56PM press release via CNN later that evening, somebody from the Government’s investigative side probably went into damage control mode and let a few people know, who let a few other people know, etc, etc…probably leading to one of those “greater good” actions on the part of our leaders…”smut-control” for the benefit of our President-elect.

  14. 14
    busboy33 Said:
    4:50 pm 

    @ Andrew:

    It is certainly starting to seem clear that Rahm spoke to Blogo (no even going to try and spell it out), if for no other reason than for Blogo to be swearing up a storm because the Administration-to-be won’t play ball I assume he made an offer to somebody and was told to go to hell (unless he really is completly out of his mind), and Rahm seems to be clamming up in most peculiar way.

    Even if that’s the case, I’m still having trouble being outraged at the Obama crew. Either Rahm told Blogo flat-out they wouldn’t play ball, or worse case he told Obama and Obama told him to tell Blogo they wouldn’t play ball. Well, I suppose that the true worst-case is that they were willing to play ball, but Blogo wanted too high a price and they decided to walk rather than make the deal.

    The more I think about it, it seems pretty clear that Rahm must have told Obama. I can’t see him making that call for Obama without the big man’s signoff, and Obama did want that lady to get the seat (I forget her name), then apparently changed his mind and appointed her to an Administration position, coincidentially right after when Rahm would have spoken to Blogo. Under the circumstances, that seems like he had somebody (Rahm fits the when-and-wheres) ask Blogo to consider appointing her, Blogo named his price, and Rahm would probably have brought it back to Obama who rejected it and appointed her to the Fed position instead.

    So I’m back to the Administration (specifically Rahm and I’ll include Obama too) having spoken to a shady character and refusing to do shady things with him. As long as they didn’t actually try to buy the seat I’m not upset about it. Seems like the sort of thing that you would kind of have to lie about if asked point-blank, sort of a “how often do you masturbate” type of question-with-no-acceptable-answer.

    Heck, if this is the worst type of lie I get told by this administration I’ll be pretty happy with that.

    Now, if they WERE trying to buy the seat, then I’m pissed. It would have to be “bribe” instead of “horse trading” though. Like Fitzgerald said, interests for interests is how politics work, and its not ideal but its also far from condmenable.

  15. 15
    Colony14Author Said:
    7:02 pm 

    There is no way Emanuel would have acted alone on the deal. Obama had to know what was going on, but he apparently was surprised at how much of a weasel Blago was and had to call off the deal. Obama should have known better - everybody else in the state of Illinois knows Blago’s character (even the fools who voted for him in 2002 and then again, with Obama’s strong endorsement, in 2006).

    If Obama didn’t know what Emanuel was up to, then he’s a lousy administrator if he’d allow his underlings to cause his first choice, Jarrett, to be lost because of their incompetence.

    Either way, Obama is a poor judge of character - as millions of people already know.

    I had the displeasure of meeting Emanuel once, years ago, and it took me about two minutes to figure out that he was pond scum. Apparently Obama not only doesn’t mind associating with such people, he chooses them for his staff.

    http://www.colony14.net

  16. 16
    michael reynolds Said:
    10:33 pm 

    Retire:

    Before you accuse me of being a gloom n’ doom, “the war is lost” liberal, I’m curious: how long did it take you to figure out that we needed more men in Iraq? Because I was writing it within a month of the invasion. And I kept at it despite loudmouth right-wing yahoos telling me I was “gloom n’ dooming’ the war.

    I was also right 2 years ago when I said we’d essentially lost the war in Afghanistan. 70% of the country is in enemy hands, we’re rushing troops in, and we have no strategy for winning.

    And I was right that the GOP’s attacks on Obama during the election would fail to gain traction. I’m right a fair bit of the time, Retire, because I don’t twist reality to fit ideology.

    Now, I’m telling you this stuff won’t fly. The GOP new needs ideas and a new approach. You can’t win by announcing the death of Hope and Change, because until you figure out where you’re actually going it puts you in the position of representing Despair and Stasis. You can’t drive the country into a ditch and then sit on the side of the road criticizing the folks who come along and try to pull it back out. It will make your party even more despised than it already is.

  17. 17
    Josh_Painter’s blog » Is the Chicago way the change we need? :: Pinged With:
    10:51 am 

    [...] about whether they had contact with Blago’s office, this could take some time. As Rick Moran observed about Emmanuel’s multiple contacts with the governor’s office: There is no good [...]

  18. 18
    Josh_Painter’s blog » Is the Chicago way the change we need? :: Pinged With:
    10:51 am 

    [...] about whether they had contact with Blago’s office, this could take some time. As Rick Moran observed about Emmanuel’s multiple contacts with the governor’s office: There is no good [...]

  19. 19
    ChooseTheHero.com » Blog Archive » Is the Chicago way the change we need? Pinged With:
    12:00 pm 

    [...] about whether they had contact with Blago’s office, this could take some time. As Rick Moran observed about Emmanuel’s multiple contacts with the governor’s office: There is no good [...]

  20. 20
    obamathered Said:
    10:26 pm 

    Again, the media’s failure to vet Obama probably did him no favors in the end. Stuff those of us in the cocoon discussed endlessly will come across to the average person as fresh evidence Obama is corrupt and so forth. I actually don’t wish it, but this probably is a failed presidency at the outset because the more the public will get to know Obama, whether or not his lies are called “misstatements,” the more buyer’s remorse will set in. This would have happened even without the taint of the Blago scandal.

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