When Will Obama Resign?
To hear the traditional media tell this story, Barack Obama personally directed millions of dollars into Rod Blagojevich's personal bank account and promised to make Blago "President for Life" at the end of his term. They also baptized one another. That's the straight scoop from the AP's Liz Sidoti.
AP reporter Liz Sidoti, fresh off a stint delivering donuts to John McCain, pens an "analysis" of the Blagojevich indictment that begins: "President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even stepped into office and already a scandal is threatening to dog him."
Then, in the very next sentence, Sidoti admits "Obama isn't accused of anything." And that pretty much sets the tone for the "analysis" -- ominous warnings that Obama could be implicated in the scandal, followed by concessions that he, you know ... isn't.
The Politico reads from the same exact script today, opening their story with "At first blush, Barack Obama comes out of the Rod Blagojevich scandal smelling like a rose," and then throwing a whole bunch of crap up against the wall to try and come up with something, SOMETHING tying the President-elect and the Governor together. After all, Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin are good enough and smart enough to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, right? This is their due.
Digby recites the playbook:
There you have it. The call to "release documents." The anonymous Democratic backstabber. The Republicans insisting on keeping the prosecutor (as if anyone's suggested anything different.) The thinly veiled accusation of stone walling.
This story seems to have hit at a perfect moment, when the press and the country are bored with bad news. So, perhaps it really will have legs. It's hard for me to see that, but the press is reporting this as if they are innocent bystanders when they are the one's trafficking in rumor and innuendo, so I'm not quite as sanguine as I was yesterday.
Back on planet Earth, Obama has already called on Patrick Fitzgerald to stay on as a federal prosecutor on this case, his ethics reform bill in Illinois sped up, in a roundabout way, the pay-for-play deals that Blagojevich wanted to put into place through donations from state contractors before the law would invalidate them (and no, that doesn't mean Obama couldn't escape the world of Chicago politics, it means he wanted to put strict limits on it), and he has called on Blagojevich to resign.
The President-elect agrees with Lt. Governor Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the Governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois.
But to the media, not only does Obama have to answer for the actions of every African-American in the country, as he was forced to do during the campaign, he also has to answer for the actions of every citizen of the state of Illinois, I guess. Will Obama ever escape the taint of the firing of Blackhawks coach Denis Savard? Won't he just resign now, for the good of the country?
For those looking for a laugh out of this, check out this from Benjy Sarlin:
It's time to play Name That Goon! Rod Blagojevich vs. Tony Soprano.
Hands on buzzers: One's a trash-talking thug trying to stay one step ahead of the law. The other was played by James Gandolfini. Can you identify the speaker of the ten quotes below?
Check it at the link.