Today's Chicago Sun-Times's editorial, titled "Gov. Blagojevich must go - right now," begins:
If Gov. Blagojevich does not resign immediately, impeach him.
This is the inescapable conclusion that comes after reading Tuesday’s 76-page criminal complaint against the governor alleging a runaway crime spree of political corruption.
Even if the governor were found not guilty of every accusation against him — and given the apparent weight of the evidence against him, we’re not taking any bets — the criminal charges would cripple his already limited ability to lead Illinois.
The newspaper's editorial conveniently overlooks that Milorad Blagojevich is a Democrat. It also ignores that only two years ago the Chicago Sun-Times endorsed him. Its October 20, 2006 editorial, "Blagojevich for governor," took passing note of ethical problems and decided they were of little consequence:
There's no denying the cloud of scandal over his administration. One of his chief fund-raisers, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, was indicted last week for alleged shakedowns for campaign contributions. More revelations likely will come right before the election when power broker Stuart Levine is expected to plead guilty. The governor said the charges against Rezko, if true, represent a personal betrayal by Rezko, and that he himself has never been involved in any unethical or illegal fund-raising. Our experience with Blagojevich prompts us to take him at his word. We've chosen to give him the benefit of the doubt and endorse him for a number of reasons.
So in 2006 the benefit of the doubt was extended to Blagojevich, but now, despite an accused person's presumption of innocence until proven guilty, he's got to go. Now. Stat. Pronto.
Of course, it wasn't only the Sun-Times that backed Blagojevich just two years ago. So did the AFL-CIO, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and the Service Employees International Union. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn described Blagojevich this way weeks before the election:
"He's always been a person who's honest and one of integrity. I have confidence the governor does the right thing all the time."
Another Rod rooter was Illinois Senator Barack Obama. As reported by ABC 7's Andy Shaw:
"We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois and for that reason I am proud to stand behind him," said Senator Barack Obama.
He was proud to stand with Blagojevich then; now he wants to be about a million miles away.
This evening the Sun-Times printed an "eight-page special edition (that) will bring you the latest on the Blagojevich situation." OK, so it won't sell like all those "special" commemorative Obama editions did, but it may help keep the newspaper in business.
And maybe the Sun-Times will even include an extra bonus: An apology for urging voters to keep such an obvious crook in office.