Obama and Blagojevich: Haven’t You Heard?


While the entire state of Illinois waits uncomfortably for Rod Blagojevich to stop trying to pretend he can still be the governor, it’s being reported that Rahm Emanuel had conversations with Blago’s staff about potential picks. (Cue women with parasols fainting from the shock of it all.) “Aha! The smoking gun!” Michael Tomasky sarcastically exclaims. Yeah, not quite. It appears like “a completely normal political conversation.” But still, John Nichols wonders if Obama can “explain whether — despite his claim that he was staying out of the selection process — he delegated Emanuel to, in fact, try and guide the process.” Of course, Obama has already promised to fully report his staff’s contacts with Blago once it’s all sorted out (in “the next few days,” Ben Smith relays), which is why Michael Scherer feels like the “urgency of this hunt seems a bit overblown.” Likewise, Matt Yglesias is puzzled by TV personalities admitting that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing on Obama’s part while at the same time speculating wildly that there may in fact be some wrongdoing. Of course, cable news has always been about as patient as a dog who thinks it smells bacon — even if that bacon turns out only to be Beggin Strips.

Know who else isn’t waiting for answers? The RNC, which released a video over the weekend full of predictably ominous drumbeats and grainy black-and-white footage. “Questions Remain” highlights not only Emanuel’s conversation but any contact Obama and Blagojevich ever had. Did you know that in 2002 Obama said we should actually elect Blagojevich? “The horrors,” Steve Benen quips. Really, though, this “baseless smear campaign against the president-elect seems unusually cheap, even by RNC standards.” Interestingly, John McCain, who not too long ago was pushing some guilt-by-association narratives himself, called on the RNC to cut it out. In Bill Press’s opinion, “Republicans are wasting their time” and “ought to take John McCain’s advice. Give it up.”