They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to make a buck.
They'll stone ya and then they'll say, "good luck."
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.
Cigars, it seems, aren’t the only thing they’re smoking in the backrooms of Chicago.
Last week it was reported that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly schemed to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for $1 million dollars.
Again, that’s $1 million dollars for a Senate seat held by the man who was just elected to lead the free world, making him the most recognizable person on the planet.
What could this guy possibly have been thinking?
Maybe in a time when it’s become a national pastime for politicians to see how many zeros they can put behind the next bank bailout, mortgage mark down or cash-and-carry plan for the failing car industry, Governor Blagojevich thought six zeros was a bargain. Maybe Blagojevich thought it was his duty as governor to uphold Chicago’s longstanding tradition of political corruption and scandal.
Or maybe Blagojevich is just an idiot.
Mental competency aside, anyone with a shred decency knows there’s a larger problem here hanging like a hazy cloud of smoke over this whole sordid affair. In one fail swoop, one governor’s half-baked scheme to sell-out democracy somehow managed to further retard the electorate’s already ailing perception of our political system.
To Blagojevich's credit, this Wiley politician from the Windy City’s North side wasn't completely impervious to the fact that most people don’t have $1 million cash just lying around. According to FBI wiretaps, Blagojevich would have been willing to have made do with any one of the following:
- a substantial salary for himself at a non-profit foundation or organization affiliated with labor unions;
- a spot for his wife on a paid corporate board;
- promises of future campaign funds;
- a Cabinet post or ambassadorship
In this season of giving, however, it seems Old Saint Nick isn’t the only one ‘making a list and checking it twice.’ Blagojevich had a list of his own. And that’s where it starts to get really interesting…
According to the FBI, prominent Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi held a meeting October 31 during which Blagojevich claimed he'd been approached by a representative for an unnamed "Senate Candidate #5" who offered cash in exchange for the Senate seat. On Wednesday, it was revealed that Jesse, Jackson, Jr., was that candidate.
Jackson spokesman Rick Bryant says that while Jackson did discuss the Senate seat with Nayak, he never asked him to do—or give—anything. The notoriously talkative Jackson has said even less. Interesting.
It’s also started to get interesting for Barack Obama.
The president-elect also insists he hasn't had any contact with the Illinois governor regarding his vacant Senate seat. But Obama has yet to give his transition staff the same clean bill of health—and perhaps with good reason.
Obama stammers through Blagojevich press conference (mash-up courtesy of Sneakyville Prods.)
As it turns out, Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s incoming chief of staff, is a rough-and-tumble politico in his own right. But until Emanuel assumes his new position on January 20, he will continue to represent the good people of Illinois’ 5th congressional district. And can you guess who held that job before Rahm? That’s right—Rod Blagojevich.
For the Obama team to expect us to think that the paths of Emanuel and Blagojevich haven’t crossed, and crossed repeatedly—especially considering the fact Emanuel was charged with securing his new boss’s old Senate seat for Obama family friend, Valerie Jarrett—we’d all have to be smoking something.
And while it’s definitely rained on Jarrett’s political aspirations, it seems she’s traded an umbrella for a golden parachute. Just before the Blagojevich scandal broke, Jarrett’s name was withdrawn from the running for the Senate seat. Shortly thereafter, she was named ‘special adviser to the president.’ Interesting.
I would imagine our fair Bob is watching all of this with some interest as well.
From unequivocal disdain of the flatfoots on Fourth Street,
Yes, I wish that for just one time;
You could stand inside my shoes;
You'd know what a drag it is;
To see you
to unapologetic enmity of those who have mastered the art of war profiteering,
Let me ask you one question;
Is your money that good;
Will it buy you forgiveness;
Do you think that it could
Bob Dylan has always held the feet of the media and the men who manipulate it to the fire.
Dylan once famously claimed, "I don't write political songs." But in light of the sheer disregard for justice exhibited by Rod Blagojevich, Dylan need not concern himself with chronicling this particular crisis of faith. There’s enough here to launch a thousand politically minded minstrels.
Besides, if you're looking for a Dylan song to bookend this cockamamie case of political corruption and mind numbing incompetence, all you have to do is turn the clock back 42 years…
Well, they'll stone you when you walk all alone.
They'll stone you when you are walking home.
They'll stone you and then say you are brave.
They'll stone you when you are set down in your grave.
In 2008, however, those words are less whimsical social commentary and more reflective of the massive political drubbing a certain governor from Illinois is about to rightfully endure.