Governor Rod Blagojevich provided all the US political humorists a recharging since the end of the US Presidential campaign – the Jon Stewart Show, Steven Colbert Report, and even the Sunday Funnies on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos were crammed with “wise cracks”. But as David Letterman shows, the political humor virtually wrote itself.However, Frank Rich at the NYTimes, argues that –
From a safe distance outside Illinois, it’s hard not to laugh at the “culture of Chicago,” where even the president-elect’s Senate seat is just another commodity to be bought and sold. But the entertainment is escapist only up to a point. What went down in the Land of Lincoln is just the reductio ad absurdum of an American era where both entitlement and corruption have been the calling cards of power. Blagojevich’s alleged crimes pale next to the larger scandals of Washington and Wall Street. Yet those who promoted and condoned the twin national catastrophes of reckless war in Iraq and reckless gambling in our markets have largely escaped the accountability that now seems to await the Chicago punk nabbed by the United States attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.
In essence Rich is underlining the corruption arguments that I have made here on White Collar Crime going Scott-free and the inherent problems of letting corruption fester in your neighbourhood. What Frank Rich does is raise the stakes higher saying the the very elites that govern and lead key sectors of government, business and especially finance are being revealed as compromised if not outright Blagojevich-like corrupted. And of course the recent tales of Madoff and Dreier just add to the dirge. The Times goes on to point out how pervasive the pay to play and lobbying pervasiveness have been with a “let you be the judge story on Democartic Senior Senator Chuch Shumer’s 10 year aid to the High Finance lobby. In sum, the corruption cancer has infected some of the very institutions and people who are supposed to a)prevent such prevarications and assaults on the system and b)who will be counted on to lead the clean up. Talk about humor with real Bite.