Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blagojevich trial will spotlight worst elements of state's political culture

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal corruption trial will feature prosecutors feeding voters a steady reminder of the worst elements of Illinois' political culture — allegations that money, insider influence and personal interest drive public policy in this state.

For Democrats, the trial represents a long-feared day of reckoning after 18 months of a Blagojevich-fueled circus. The challenge is to weather months of testimony involving pay-to-play charges as the party tries to maintain its control of state government, led by Gov. Pat Quinn, who replaced Blagojevich as governor after twice serving as his running mate.

"I don't think it's going to be good for Democrats," said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "Quinn inoculated himself pretty well from Blagojevich. But Blagojevich, himself, wrote the book on this. He's taught us how to take a person not associated in any way with taint and link them at the hip."

Mooney's comments were featured in a June 3, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article