The real news from Chicago: a thought experiment

Trick question: what was the stop-the-presses news coming out of the Windy City yesterday?

Nope, it wasn't that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested for corruption--for, inter alia, attempting to sell Barack Obama's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat (which by state law is in the governor's gift), attempting to get editorial writers for the Chicago Tribune who were critical of him sacked, and attempting to shake down various companies that had contracts with the state. That was not so much news as a longstanding tradition in what wags are now calling "Crook County," Illinois.

The real news was that BARACK OBAMA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. It is not my regular practice to listen to NPR, but I happened to catch a bit of "All Left Things Considered" yesterday afternoon and the news from Chicago got a thorough airing. Sure, the name Rod Blagojevich came into the story, but each announcer in turn tripped over himself to assure the audience that BARACK OBAMA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

It was pretty funny, actually, to listen as these chaps who had labored so hard to help Obama get elected instantly closed ranks under the sign reading "presumed innocent." Quoth one NPR announcer: It was nothing like Whitewater, a scandal that shadowed the Clintons for so many years. (But nota bene: if you go check out the MSM's reporting on Whitewater back when it mattered, you'll find that, according to them, Whitewater was basically a plot cooked up by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to discredit the Clintons.)

As it happens, I also think it unlikely that Obama had anything to do with the governor's alleged malfeasance. Shaking down a contractor? Dumb. Threatening a newspaper? Dumber. Selling off a seat to the U.S. Senate to the highest bidder? Positively moronic. Obama is not stupid. He is in fact an exceptionally smooth operator. Therefore, I provisionally conclude, he had nothing to do with this ostentatiously sordid episode.