Another for the Gubernatorial Hall of Shame

Jon Gallagher


A few weeks ago, right after the election of Barack Obama, I got a phone call from a pollster. He wanted to know if I had voted for Obama, and when I replied in the affirmative, he asked if I would answer about 20 minutes worth of other questions.

Those questions danced around, asking what my opinion was of certain state politicians. I remember him asking if I had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of people like Jesse Jackson Jr,, Jan Schakowsky, Dan Hynes, and others.

The final questions was “who do you think should be appointed to fill Barack Obama’s vacant seat in the Senate?”

My response was, “It doesn’t matter who I think ought to get it. It’ll go to whoever greases Governor Blagojevich’s palm the most.”

I had no idea I was psychic.


Let’s look at the bright side of the arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich.  

First, the national anchors are learning to pronounce both Blagojevich as well as “Illinois.” In the past few hours, I’ve heard them slaughter both, but they’re learning. It’s ILL-a-NOY, not ILL-a-Noise fercryinoutloud! Who cares how they pronounce Blagojevich.

Second, it’s brought the word “Impeach” and all its variations back into our language.

Third, I finally learned how to spell Blagojevich without looking.

And finally, someone found a creative way to get rid of the beleaguered governor without having to wait till the next election in 2010.

About halfway through Blagojevich’s first term, I wasn’t real happy with the way he was running state. I didn’t like the fact that he kept calling state legislators back to Springfield, costing the state thousands of dollars, just because no one could agree on a budget. I didn’t like the fact that the Governor’s mansion in Springfield wasn’t good enough for him; he had to live in Chicago and commute (at taxpayers’ expense).

By the time his first term was over, I had decided that I’d vote for almost anyone for Governor whose name wasn’t Blagojevich.

Then the Republicans went and put Judy Baar Topinka up against him in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

I remember standing in the voting booth wondering what to do. I didn’t want to cast my vote for an idiot like Blagojevich, but I sure didn’t want to support the woman who kept telling everyone that former Governor George Ryan was a “damn fine governor.” With a sigh, and a wish that Jesse Ventura would move to Illinois, I punched the button highlighting Blagojevich’s name and hoped that I wouldn’t regret it.

For the past couple years, we got more of the same old same old. Blagojevich battled the legislature tooth and nail over the budget. He cut state spending. I refused to cut the gas tax, even after gas hit $4.00 a gallon. He closed state historical sites like Carl Sandburg’s birthplace. He continued to commute to Springfield from Chicago, using taxpayer money that could have been better spent on programs and keeping some sites open.

Now the national media seems to be making a big deal out of the fact that President-Elect Obama’s senate seat was “for sale.” Some pundits are saying that Blagojevich fancied himself as a sports agent, ready to hand the seat to the highest bidder.

I’m not upset about that. That’s just politics as usual here in Illinois. I’m not upset that he gives jobs or contracts to his supporters. Again, that’s been going on for years. It’s not right, but I’d be willing to guess that even Honest Abe handed out a few patronage jobs in his day.

What does piss me off, however, is the fact that he wanted to rescind eight million dollars in funding to a Children’s hospital because the CEO of the hospital didn’t cough up a 50 thousand dollar campaign contribution.

I’d really like to hear Blagojevich explain to the parents of a child at that hospital why services to that child wouldn’t be available because the CEO didn’t drop enough coins in the governor’s pocket.

If that’s true, then that’s just simply unforgivable.