As a (disappointed) San Diego Chargers fan, I often joke that a prerequisite for being a Raiders fan is a felony conviction -- or at least an arrest. (See second item here.) It appears that being governor of Illinois requires a similar criminal inclination.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest yesterday is really only surprising because of the utter stupidity the governor displayed in believing that Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's wide-ranging and well-publicized investigation of corruption in the state wouldn't bother with the governor himself. Not to mention the fact that the man Illinois voters twice chose to lead their state appears to have the maturity of an 8-year-old [PDF document] who just learned a dirty word.
The big question appears to be what President-elect Obama knew and when he knew it.
For the record, there's no evidence that Obama is involved in any of this alleged criminality, but the efforts to put as much space as possible between Obama and Blagojevich raises some eyebrows.
Yesterday, Obama said that he'd had "no contact" with Blagojevich over who would fill the now-vacant Senate seat. Yet reporters quickly dug up a quote last month from top Obama aide David Axelrod that contradicted Obama's statement. The story quickly changed and both the Obama transition team and Axelrod claim that he misspoke.
Color me skeptical on the new storyline. There's no reason to believe that Blagojevich would not at the very least ask Obama if he had any suggestions for someone to replace him. In fact, I suspect it would be a little unusual to not feel out the president-elect for some names. A curious or intrepid reporter would do well to ask New York Gov. David Patterson if he's had any contact with Sen. Hillary Clinton about who should fill her seat. And there's really no doubt that Sen. Joe Biden had a lot of input on how would babysit his Senate seat until his son can take it over in two years.
[...] Sen. Barack Obama’s denial last week that neither he nor his campaign had had any discussions with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has changed. Reminiscent of Al Gore’s “no controlling legal authority” line comes word that Obama’s campaign did talk with Balgojevich, but there were “no inappropriate discussions.” The exact nature of the discussions will have to wait, because prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has apparently requested it. [...]