Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blago: Take Your Gray Area and Shove It

If you or I were caught on tape planning to pay a hitman $150,000 for the murder of a Sunday school teacher, should the authorities step in and make arrests?

Of course they should. But under the flapdoodle being advanced by the lawyer for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, some legal scholars and media pundits, being caught on tape planning to shake someone -- anyone -- down for $150,000 in exchange for an appointment to the vacated Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama did not constitute a crime, let alone a crime in the making.

This, they argue in invoking the "politicians will be politicians" version of the old "boys will be boys" adage, is because there is a difference between criminality and back room deal-making.

While I appreciate that there are so-called gray areas in the law, there should be none here.

Giving Blagojevich a go-free card because what he did was merely what scumbags like him have done since time in memoriam disrespects the office. Even worse, it perpetuates a societal double standard that demands the apprehension and arrest of mere mortals like you and I for the slightest infraction, let alone felonious behavior, but allows politicians to do anything short of murdering a Sunday school teacher -- and get away with it.
Photograph by Joshua Lott for The New York Times

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