Is Rod Blagojevich’s 14 Year Sentence Too Harsh?
So thinks Bill Press. The national talk show host said this morning, “I think the sentence is too harsh, and his offence was not really proved in the court.” Blagojevich is probably going to lose his $65,000 yearly pension from the state as well. Is it too harsh a punishment?
My first recollection of Blagojevich is of the moment he appeared on TV for a press conference with Rev. Jackson. It was after he had teamed up with the Reverend to visit Serbia to negotiate with Milosevic and free two captured US service men. In that press conference he hardly did any talking. In fact if you know the activist Reverend you know how imposing his personality is and it is nearly impossible to outshine him in any encounter. What caught my eyes was, the pressmen never even forwarded the microphone to Blagojevich, and he also did not venture to speak. He looked totally insignificant in that press conference. That vivid memory never left me.
I was therefore fascinated watching him rise in Chicago politics and becoming a twice elected governor. Over the time, the quite serious looking political novice in my memory had become the most garrulous politician in Illinois. When his first skirmishes were brought out in the media against the entrenched Chicago aldermen, and speaker of the House, my sympathy was clearly with him. After all the fame of Chicago’s pay to play politics had spread far and wide. I seriously thought here was a fresh faced politician who is out to get the corrupt Chicago politicians.
But with time his battles gradually appeared more and more, as petty and ego-driven, rather than principle driven or ideological, and I was losing faith in him. I was also surprised learning that he had fallen off with his politically powerful father-in-law who was instrumental in getting him elected as the Governor of Illinois. Yet, when the news of his arrest by federal authorities broke out my immediate reaction was, the establishment was going to get rid of a person who was a maverick and really did not fall in line with the establishment.Continued on the next page