Up until today, I thought the most modern definition of stupid was Plaxico Burress, the New York Giants wide receiver who shot himself, literally, in the leg in a New York nightclub. But now the mantle moves to another public figure. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Before Burress I would have given the award to former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer for his career-ending dalliances with a young hot hooker in Washington.)
Blagojevich, a reform candidate after the state's last governor was hauled off to prison, was cuffed by federal agents and pulled from his home this morning on charges that he tried to sell Barack Obama's now-vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich allegedly did this with the full knowledge that a federal investigation was underway into public corruption in his state. He also allegedly tried to twist the arm of the Chicago Tribune's parent company which just yesterday declared bankruptcy and was seeking state fiscal relief. It should come as no surprise to him, then, that the Tribune, which has a long history of exposing public corruption, broke the story of his arrest.
The feds say they got the governor on a wire trying to arrange the sale of the president-elect's former seat. Sounds like the evidence is pretty damning.
If he actually did all of the above, he certainly acted in a less-than-intelligent manner. Especially considering that he is an attorney who once served as a state prosecutor. He can't claim he doesn't know the law.
One must ponder why so many people in the public eye allow themselves to fall from grace like this. Politicians. Actors. Singers. Sports stars. Business leaders. Do they think that their positions put them above the law? There must be a psychological explanation for all this.
What it does, in the long-run, is erode public confidence in others who are in positions of responsibility, trust or acclaim.
This case also, sadly, reminds the nation of a long history of public corruption in Illinois. At a time when residents of the Land of Lincoln state should be basking in pride that their son, Barack Obama, has been elected president of the United States, they likely feel tainted by the alleged actions of their governor. A governor who has allegedly conducted himself in a manner that dishonors the public trust placed in him.