December 11, 2008

McIlheran gropes for meaning

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran, apparently disappointed at not finding any smoking Obama-Blagojevich connection, directs his hack sensibilities elsewhere:
Personally, I think where Blagojevich really torpedoed his boat with his party was in using a vulgarity to refer to The One: You’re supposed to save that for W.
A commenter, misconstruing McIlheran's special comedy, asks, "Do you really think the reason Blagojevich went down is because he called the president-elect an MF'er????"

McIlheran clarifies, then posits:
But why aren't his fellow Democrats reflexively denouncing this as a right-wing witch hunt? Because the gov dissed The One. He's beyond the pale now.
Or what is far more likely, the FBI's allegations are kind of hard to defend no matter which political party one favors. And Democrats are condemning Blagojevich because he's a bad seed. Simple.

In fact, the only person I've found thus far attempting a defense is professional Republican Pat Buchanan, who was on teevee the other night wondering how Blagojevich might be convicted when, evidently, none of his alleged nefarious plans was consummated.

In other words, Buchanan was saying, the governor thought the bad thoughts, but never committed the bad acts. In criminal matters, usually the government needs to prove both.

That's because the federal statutes the IL governor is being charged under in Count One of the criminal complaint are conspiracy laws, which don't require completion, only attempt.

They refer to a "scheme or artifice to defraud," including such schemes or artifices designed to "deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."

In this case, the honest services at issue are those of the defendants, Rod R. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris. Apparently there exists a legal presumption that politicians are honest by default. Make of that what you will.

As opposed to the honest services provided by certain newspaper columnists, to which no right exists, tangible or otherwise.

Count Two of the complaint, which alludes to Blagojevich's alleged machinations involving the Tribune Company, was filed under a federal theft or bribery statute* dealing with corrupt solicitations or demands.

* Sec. 666. Maybe America is a Christian Nation after all.

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