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Toto, We're Not In Chicago Any More
By Ed Driscoll · January 4, 2009 07:21 PM · The Making of the President

Jennifer Rubin writes that the Bill Richardson debacle "is the Obama team's first significant misstep (well, aside from directing a series of conversations with the known-to-be under-investigation Blago and not imploring fellow Democrats in Illinois to pass a bill for a special Senate election)":

With the advent of this incident and of Blago-gate, it is fair to ask whether the Chicago crowd isn't too relaxed about the appearance of corruption. Have they gotten so used to the the stench of impropriety and the possibility of federal investigation that the alarm bells no longer sound? The Obama players are from Chicago, but they're not in Chicago any longer.

The confluence of these two pay-to-play scandals isn't being missed. Andrew Malcolm writes:

Unspoken by both Obama and Richardson today was the political reality that the Democrat-controlled Senate, which would have to confirm Democrat Richardson for the new Democratic president, is already in a mortifying fight with Illinois' Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich over a similar federal "pay-to-play" probe of his operations, including the alleged auction of his nomination to fill Obama's now vacant U.S. Senate seat with another Democrat.
There will be future incidents testing whether the Obama team has learned its lesson about insufficient scrutiny. Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel springs to mind. We'll know progress has been made when we see the White House pressuring Congress for his removal from the Ways and Means Chair, and not scrambling to keep up with the latest investigation.

For now, the Obama transition crew has at least learned the second lesson of corruption scandals: throw the miscreants overboard fast. The first, of course, is don't associate with them to begin with.

Good luck with that.

Related: Illinois: the "shining cesspool on a hill."

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