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Governor Rod Blagojevich - Case Study Example

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The recently impeached Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is the fourth Illinois Governor in as many decades to become entangled in a criminal case involving financial improprieties. Previous Governors Otto Kerner, Daniel Walker, and George Ryan have preceded Blagojevich in being convicted of white-collar crimes and being sentenced to prison…
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Governor Rod Blagojevich
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Governor Rod Blagojevich The recently impeached Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is the fourth Illinois Governor in as many decades to become entangled in a criminal case involving financial improprieties. Previous Governors Otto Kerner, Daniel Walker, and George Ryan have preceded Blagojevich in being convicted of white-collar crimes and being sentenced to prison. Blagojevich has vigorously defended his actions and has remained unflappable in the face of the serious charges and his claims of innocence. While the Governor was recently impeached by a unanimous vote, Blagojevich did the state and his constituents a disservice by failing to resign in a timely and dignified fashion. Illinois has a sordid history of corruption in politics, but the public has become more sensitive to the issues of illegal campaign contributions, inappropriate lobbying, and self-enrichment. Governor Blagojevich should have saved the legislature's time, the taxpayers' money, and the dignity of the office by resigning before he was impeached.
In the face of escalating unemployment and an economic crisis, the Illinois legislature should have been working to resolve these important issues, rather than debating the issue of impeachment. Blagojevich owed it to the public to step down and allow the state government to attend to more important matters than his alleged bribery. The final vote of 59-0 came after four days of valuable government time, and indicates that there was never a possibility for the Governor to fight these charges in the legislature (Long and Pearson). The public would have been better served if the Governor would have accepted the inevitable outcome and resigned at an earlier date.
The pending impeachment stagnated state government, while the public debt continued to escalate. The Illinois state debt is in excess of $114 billion and continues to go up every day (Surviving Illinois' Debt). After the governor was implicated by the federal prosecutor's office in Chicago, Blagojevich became ineffectual as a leader and the state government came to a standstill pending a resolution. People were losing their jobs, their homes, and their livelihood, while the governor was unable to enact any legislation that might aid them. A prompt resignation in the face of these serious charges would have allowed a credible governor to take office and work to resolve the economic issues that challenge the people of Illinois.
Blagojevich further tainted the office of the Governor by hanging on to the office, while he appeared on talk shows and late night TV. His appearances had all the trappings and hype of a media circus, and that reflected directly on the dignity of the state government. The national public was treated to the image of Blagojevich, which, "standing before a federal judge wearing jogging pants, sneakers and a powder blue fleece sort of made the governor of Illinois look like a jester" (Kass). It will be a long time before the voters of Illinois can take the office of the Governor seriously again.
In conclusion, Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich seriously harmed the people of Illinois and the office of the Governor by not resigning when the federal charges of corruption first came to light. Four days of valuable legislature time was spent on an impeachment with an inevitable outcome. Taxpayers, already saddled with a massive public debt, continued to suffer, while the Governor appeared on talk shows to hype his own ego. The governor's antics trivialized the office and made him a laughing stock in the national consciousness. A timely and dignified resignation could have averted the problems that fomented, while he stubbornly clung to his position.
Works Cited
Kass, John. "He's the Clown, but Joke's On Us." Chicago Tribune 10 Dec. 2008. 4 Feb. 2009 .
Long, Ray, and Rick Pearson. "Blagojevich Ousted in Impeachment." The Baltimore Sun 30 Jan. 2009. 4 Feb. 2009 .
"Surviving Illinois' Debt Sentence: $106 Billion." Debt Counter Overview. 3 Feb. 2009. For the Good of Illinois. 4 Feb. 2009 . Read More
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