early and often

The Fallout From Blagojevich’s Explosive Exit Begins Before He Has Actually Gone

Everyone is kind of rejoicing today after the news of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges for allegedly attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder. Some were happy that at last it was a black-and-white, not squeamish or sexy, political crime. Democrats were relieved that President-elect Barack Obama — who hasn’t commented except to say he is “saddened and sobered” — hasn’t been implicated in any of this. Republicans (and Gawker) didn’t let that stop them from issuing talking points attempting to do exactly that. And conservative columnists pointed out with glee how the New York Times and Chicago Sun-Times neglected to list in their original stories that Blagojevich was a Democrat. But what will it all mean? We looked to our usual experts…

• 2010 will be a lot more interesting for Republicans in Illinois, notes Nate Silver, since any Blago and Obama replacements won’t be on solid ground before then. “This is an absolutely radioactive, Hurricane-force event that will have implications in Illinois for years to come,” he writes. [FiveThirtyEight]

• Kathryn Lopez argues that with all of the expletives directed at Obama and Jarrett, Blagojevich has clearly blown his shot at a presidential pardon. (Not that he’d get one anyway for bringing Illinois-style corruption to the Obama-administration table before he was even in office.) [Corner/National Review]

• Remaining Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 ranking Democrat in the body, recommends a special runoff election to pick Obama’s replacement — even though that’s not what state law calls for — because clearly Blagojevich can’t do it. John Nichols agrees. [State of Change/Nation]

• Journalist Matt Cooper, who has also faced off against prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, has some advice: “I don’t think you’re dealing with a modern-day Javert or some loon. He’s a hard ass, but a reasonable one and I think, if you believe you are guilty and are going to lose at trial, you might get a decent deal out of this,” Cooper writes. “I’d shoot for the minimum security and seven years in prison.” [Capital/Portfolio]

• The RNC immediately distributed talking points linking Obama to Blago, but if even the conservative Washington Times isn’t buying it, the story line probably won’t have legs. [Washington Times]

• Jake Tapper observes that Republicans who are pushing for a release of all communications between the Obama team and Blagojevich might only find out what has already been rumored — that Rahm Emanuel was approached by Blago and immediately ratted him out. [ABC News]

• Rich Lowry is rubbing his hands together at the prospect of passing the corruption mantle onto Democrats, what with Charles Rangel and Eliot Spitzer and all. [Corner/National Review]

• Zachary Roth, meanwhile, can’t seem to decide whether it is lame or completely awesome that the Tribune stepped away from a story to let this all play out. (We say awesome.) [Talking Points Memo]

• Somewhat unsurprisingly, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn says that his boss should step aside. Also unsurprisingly, Blago isn’t yet listening. [ChicagoBreakingNews.com]

• Eugene Volokh observes that Blago’s efforts go further then most in political deal-making, but not by too much. We may see more of what we call “bargains” defined as “crimes” from now on. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Earlier: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to Join Previous Illinois Governor George Ryan in the Clink

The Fallout From Blagojevich’s Explosive Exit Begins Before He Has Actually Gone