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Blagojevich

December 10th, 2008 by Myrhaf · 12 Comments · Politics

People are stunned at the corruption of Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois. Yesterday Keith Olbermann asked if Blagojevich is the dumbest SOB in America or the craziest. Neither, Keith. He’s just your average politician. A dime a dozen.

This [pdf] is how politicians spend taxpayers’ money in the real world:

63. According to Individual A, after Individual B left the meeting on October 6, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that he was going to make an upcoming announcement concerning a $1.8 billion project involving the Tollway Authority. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that Lobbyist 1 was going to approach Highway Contractor 1 to ask for $500,000 for Friends of Blagojevich. ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A that, “I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, fuck ‘em.” According to Individual A, he/she believed that ROD BLAGOJEVICH was telling Individual A that ROD BLAGOJEVICH expected Highway Contractor 1 to raise $500,000 in contributions to Friends of Blagojevich and that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is willing to commit additional state money to the Tollway project but is waiting to see how much money Highway Contractor 1 raises for Friends of Blagojevich.

And:

65. According to Individual A, on October 8, 2008, during a discussion of fundraising from various individuals and entities, the discussion turned to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Individual A words to the effect of “I’m going to do $8 million for them. I want to get [Hospital Executive 1] for 50.” Individual A understood this to be a reference to a desire to obtain a $50,000 campaign contribution from Hospital Executive 1, the Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Do you think deals like that do not go on every day, thousands of times all across America? I’ll bet many politicians reacted to the Blagojevich arrest thinking, “There, but for the fact that I’m careful enough to speak circumspectly, go I.”

As Mises explains in Bureaucracy, politicians do not pursue a profit — at least, not an honest one on the free market — so they have no standard by which to calculate how to allocate funds. They end up using quid pro quo contributions or under-the-table kickbacks and gifts as a crude kind of barter guide.

I like this passage:

77. …ROD BLAGOJEVICH told HARRIS to tell Tribune Financial Advisor that “everything is lined up, but before we go to the next level we need to have a discussion about what you guys are going to do about that newspaper.” HARRIS stated that he “won’t be so direct.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH told HARRIS “yeah, you know what you got to say.”

All politicians know what they got to say. That’s the bilge we hear every day in the media. That’s not being “so direct.” All we’re hearing in these wiretapped conversations is an average politician being direct.

This is how politicians speak when they think they’re in private:

90. …During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH later stated, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the Senate seat “is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”

96. …In regards to the Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”

101. …ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put 64 “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”

It’s no coincidence that Rod Blagojevich talks like a gangster in a second-rate Hollywood movie. Gangsters and politicians are about the same thing: power. The lust for power attracts the same kind of people to both professions. The way Blagojevich talks is the way power acts.

Why do the worst get on top, as Hayek put it in The Road to Serfdom? Because state power is about wielding force, not persuading with reason. The more statist a political system is, the more bullies, con artists and sociopathic thugs would find the political profession irresistible.

Think of it this way. Taxation is theft. Who would want to be in charge of confiscating money from those who produce it and redistributing it? Someone with the soul of a thief. Blagojevich.

Regulation is dictation. Who would want to be in charge of dictating to producers what they can and cannot do with their own property? Someone with the soul of a dictator. Blagojevich.

And people are shocked that a politician is corrupt?

UPDATE: Revised.

12 Comments so far ↓

  • Burgess Laughlin

    There is a story waiting to be told:

    – What is the nature of the law enforcement team that has investigated and will (I hope) prosecute the politicians involved?

    – Is that law enforcement team motivated by a desire for rule by law?

    – What sort of pressures have been applied individually or institutionally to “encourage” them to keep quiet, go slow, or look the other way?

    I doubt that any journalist and his editors will tell this story, but nevertheless readers deserve good news too.

    I am assuming, until I know otherwise, the investigators’ motives were objective and not political in the narrow sense.

  • C.T.

    At some point, Objectivists are going to have to be willing to enter the cesspool of politics in order to clean it up, aren’t we?

  • Bill Brown

    Boy, I sure hope not. I’ve thought about the idea of taking over the GOP from within but the thought left me cold. There’s serious institutional obstacles and you can get the same effect by cultural agitation—I’m not even sure that it would take any less time.

  • Myrhaf

    After a rational philosophy changes the culture, someone will have to step into the cesspool to repeal, repeal and repeal some more. Once the welfare state is dismantled, there will be less incentive for the power lusters to go into politics. That’s how I see it happening, anyway.

  • Bill Brown

    That’s true. With a properly limited government, we might once again see the rise of the part-time legislator.

  • madmax

    But what time frame are we talking about? Honestly, I don’t see this changing anytime soon. It might be over a century before the beginnings of Objectivism’s cultural influence are felt and it might be after the collapse and the dust settles and those who survived it begin to pick up the peaces. As much as I wish it were otherwise, I just don’t see Objectivism making enough of an impact in the next 2 or 3 generations. But I hope I am very wrong

  • Bill Brown

    When I think of Objectivism having a significant effect on the culture and nation, I tend to put it in the 50 to 80 year time frame. The Russian Revolution flared and fizzled in about that time and it had an ultra-repressive state apparatus backing it. America has the benefit of a very virtuous founding that people readily hearken back to. It’s strayed far from that course, but at least there was once a course to return to.

  • Myrhaf

    I think my generation, the Baby Boomers, will have to die before progress can be made. We need a generation that will have no allegience to the New Leftist cultural revolution of the ’60s and ’70s. It will be a generation that looks at pre-rock movies and music and asks, “Why did we give that up? Why did we abandon dressing well and living with style and standards?” Tatooed Generation Xers, listening to Metallica with their hearing aids, will shake their heads in incomprehension at that generation of youth. I think 2040-2060 should be an interesting time in the west.

  • L-C

    We better put ourselves in the cryofreezer. I’m not gonna struggle with this only to miss out on the good stuff.

  • madmax

    “We better put ourselves in the cryofreezer. I’m not gonna struggle with this only to miss out on the good stuff.”

    This raises the question of fighting for a free world that you will never see. I know that those that “fight for tomorrow live in it today” in one sense. But in another very real sense, they don’t. I must admit, I am jealous of the future.

  • Myrhaf

    You know what’s the real killer? If we had a laissez-faire economy, there would be so much wealth created that tens of billions would pour into medical research that might very well make advances in life extension. So if we miss the party, it’s because two-bit welfare statists like Obama and Bush are stealing money from those who produce it in the name of altruism and then blowing it in an orgy of moral exhibitionism and power-lust. If people could see everything they’re missing because of the tremendous destruction of wealth by the welfare state, the blood of Democrats and Republicans would run in the streets…

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