Things were quiet in Obamanation as they polled focus groups to determine the most effective strategy for dealing with this latest Obamadrama. Well it looks like the spin doctors have reached a decision and are issuing talking points to the troops. Expect to see this scandal compared to Whitewater in all the media and by all Obamabloggers. From Joe Conason at Salon:
Questions are raised. Connections are drawn. Conspiracies are theorized. Guilt is imputed, implied, asserted and very widely associated. And more of the same feckless fingerpointing is exactly what Barack Obama should expect from the Republicans, the right-wing propaganda machine and their enablers in the mainstream media — even after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has met whatever fate he deserves.
From the kooky obsession with his place of birth on WorldNetDaily to insinuations about his Chicago pedigree by the Associated Press, all of the attacks launched lately on Barack Obama give off the same familiar smell. Even a quick sniff is enough to bring back memories from a decade ago, when no perfidious accusation against Bill or Hillary Clinton was too crazy to deserve attention.
The madness that was eventually classified under the quasi-clinical rubric of “Whitewater” began, in no small degree, with the dubious idea that Arkansas, the Clintons’ home state, was a peculiarly corrupt place — and that any politician from Arkansas by definition was suspect (but only if he or she happened to be a Democrat).
I really like the way Joe connects a criminal investigation that has already resulted in the conviction of a former close associate of Barack Obama and the arrest of the governor of Illinois to a bunch of frivolous lawsuits alleging Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen. Joe already knows that Obama is innocent so any investigation would be a waste of time. But he’s not alone, Digby calls it a “trumped-up scandal” and here is Jamison Foser:
By portraying Arkansas as thoroughly, and uniquely, corrupt, the media (and Clinton’s political opponents) tied him to a long line of misbehavior that had nothing to do with him — and created the impression that Clinton must be corrupt merely for being from such an ethical cesspool.
Of course, Arkansas was neither thoroughly nor uniquely corrupt.
The point isn’t that everyplace is corrupt, or that nowhere is. It’s that no location has a monopoly on crooked politicians (nor has there yet been a location over which crooked politicians held a monopoly) — and that any claim of a city or state’s unique history of public officials abusing their office should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. (For what it’s worth, USA Todaydetermined this week that “[o]n a per-capita basis … Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007,” behind both Dakotas, Alaska, Alabama, Florida and several other states.)
And yet, here we are again, with an incoming Democratic president who hails from a city we are all supposed to believe is the most corrupt place this side of Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location. Chicago, we are told, is a den of villainy so irredeemable it defies credulity to suggest anyone could emerge from so much as a long layover at O’Hare without a closet full of skeletons.
Illinois is only 18th per capita in political corruption? How many states have a governor sitting in prison and another on the way? If Blago is convicted he will be the fourth Illinois governor in 35 years to get sent from the statehouse to the big house. There is a very good reason that Chicago is synonymous with corrupt “machine” politics.
Here’s a big difference between the current scandal and Whitewater – the latter story was over a decade old by the time Bill Clinton ran for President, whereas Blagogate isn’t even a week old yet. Why don’t we find out the facts and let the chips fall where they may?
If the news media and blogosphere don’t want to search for the truth they should get some pom-poms.