Liberal-leaning Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn is tired of politicians -- Democratic and Republican -- declaring that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest was a "sad day" for Illinois.
The sad day, rather, was Wednesday, when Blago returned to work:
[I]n statement after statement, our gloomy pols were keening as though a great leader had fallen or an important factory had closed.
Perhaps this was their acknowledgment of the severity of the charges and the depths of the alleged betrayal of the people. Perhaps they felt it would be undignified to pump their fists and say "Yessssss!" as many of the rest of us did.
But look. There have been many sad days in Illinois political history.
The days when elected officials have pocketed kickbacks, payoffs and bribes, for instance.
The days when plum jobs went to nitwit relatives and big contracts went to top donors.
The days when monied interests quietly killed legislation and line items disappeared from budgets because certain people hadn't adequately opened their wallets.
The complaint against Blagojevich alleges other sad days, such as Nov. 12 when the complaint says he discussed yanking an $8 million reimbursement payment to Children's Memorial Hospital because the hospital CEO hadn't donated $50,000 to Blagojevich's political warchest; and Nov. 3, when Blagojevich, his wife and a deputy allegedly hatched a plan to blackmail Tribune Co. into firing members of the editorial board.
Wednesday, when Blagojevich returned to work as the governor of Illinois, was a sad day.
But generally we never learn about these sad days, however, until after the fact -- until the happy day when the law pounces.
Readers of Zorn's Change of Subject blog overwhelmingly agree, judging from the unscientific poll question asked of readers at the end of his December 11 blog post:
The day Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested was...
a sad day for Illinois 4%
a holly, jolly Fitzmas 96%