Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Watch List: Tribune Says "No" to Ryan

The Chicago Tribune is asking the President to just say "no" to "affable governor" George Ryan of the past and, instead think of him in the way "the people of Illinois know him" - "as a criminal whose first-tier legal team couldn't sway jurors from convicting him on 18 corruption counts." In fact, many people in the State of Illinois think of Ryan as the Governor who spent way too much money and used the pardon power much more often than he should have! The trial, to them, was mere minutiae, just the latest of many, many scandals in Illinois politics.

But the Tribune, of course, is worried about the "message" that clemency from Bush "could send to the people of this state" - a blue state with two Democrat Senators! Says the Trib:

For uncounted decades, the Illinois culture of political sleaze has thrived on raw displays of clout and stubborn unwillingness to see public corruption as a crime worthy of meaningful punishment. Ryan is unquestionably guilty of that heinous corruption. He is just as unquestionably worthy of meaningful punishment.
So, George Ryan is the poster boy for decades of political sleaze eh? Was there no room for Rep. Mel Reynolds (D) on that poster? What "message" did Bill Clinton's pardon of Reynolds send to powerful men who have sexual relationships with teenagers? Why did the Tribune support clemency in that case? What about former Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowksi (D)? Where is Dorothy Rivers? She pleaded guilty to stealing $1.2 million in government grants because she used the money to buy
"a $35,000 fur coat, expensive gifts, clothes for a live-in boyfriend, landscaping, a record company and a Mercedes-Benz for her son. She also admitted using the cash to hire a chauffeur to regularly take her to upscale stores and trendy boutiques, and to throw extravagant parties, which she charged off as consulting fees. At one party, she used grant money for a 6-foot bubbling champagne glass. Mrs. Rivers also acknowledged using government funds for political donations and to make mortgage payments on her six-unit Chicago apartment and a lakefront home in Michigan" (Washington Times)
Rivers never showed any sign of remorse for her behavior. But, try to find a single negative word about her pardon in the Chicago Tribune! What "message" did that pardon send? How much did Illinois citizens suffer because of Rivers? Where is the detailed analysis? Why is this sudden urge to make George Ryan the poster boy for Illinois corruption without a wide angle lens? But, back to "the" message:
Suggesting a presidential favor for Ryan doesn't just defeat Fitzgerald and make his future mission harder. It tells other Illinois politicians that even if they get caught breaking the law, having influential friends can help them plead their case to the president of the United States.
Note to Tribune: politicians who get "caught" have always been able to plead their case to the president of the United States. It is their constitutional right to do so. This message was first sent by George Washington, who was operating via the understanding of the persons who wrote the Constitution. They knew that every prosecutor and every judge who ever lived would always have their opinion about things. The being the case, they (the Founding Fathers) gave the president "checks and balances" and the power to take those opinions and zip them right in the trash can. So, here's your message Tribune: Welcome to America! See editorial here.

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