Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Personal Aside: The Ultra-Sensitive U. S. Attorney Who Intrudes in Cook County’s Political Wars.

All of us are expected to perk up our ears when U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald speaks. And well we should. For the most part he has been a great blessing to our polity. I seriously doubt that George Ryan would have been convicted if one of Illinois’ good old Republic-crats had been named our prosecutor as House Speaker Denny Hastert and his combine colleagues had urged.

Without Fitzgerald, Big Jimbo’s handpicked Dan Webb might well have gotten the porcine creature of bipartisan corruption off—or if not off, a felon one only a few counts who would be confined to quarters with an ankle bracelet. I can even accept Fitz’s conviction of Scooter Libby even though the object of the federal inquiry was known privately to Fitz when the probe began…Fitz remonstrating the offender to keep quiet about it as he inveigled Libby into an act of perjury, proof of which to me is still problematic. Nor do I imagine that indictments would have been brought against top aides of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

I do imagine any non-bumbler would have been lured by the flagrant behavior of Gov. Blagojevich and his wife; probably even to City Clerk James Laski…but not Conrad Black whose looting of the “Sun-Times” made us see clearly the craven roll-over by a too-tame watch dog, the most incompetent chairman a corporate audit committee could ever have, the self-same Big Jimbo who loved to hoist Martinis with his better known board members like Henry Kissinger… and who dozed, basking in the head-patting conferred of a couch puppy eager to please his fellows.

Fitzgerald is so good an induced enema-physic for the Cook county body politick that he is worth the occasional tummy rumbles and gas pains he produces. All the same he is human like the rest of us and last week his humanness and concern for his reputation began to overtake his good sense
Patrick Fitzgerald may disdain other mortals who strive to clean up Cook corruption but, sorry, Pat, the electoral process, weak as it is, comes into play—and it’s an important one.

It is no sin, mortal or venial, for a candidate to urge his election as states attorney by saying that if elected he, the candidate, would deign to help Fitzgerald. Nor is it untoward in this democratic republic for a candidate to a photo of a U. S. attorney, a photo which is common property, to advocate an election. No improper allusion was made nor was there any implication shown that Fitzgerald or the U. S. government urged a particular election.

Thus I would hope that Patrick Fitzgerald would avoid seeming to insist that he is an institution whose robes are soiled by the merest support of his work by those who utilize the political process. After all, Pat, you wouldn’t be serving us if it were not due to the political process, okay.

Okay. Once more thanks for all you’re doing but don’t become so ossified that you think you are expected to have to censure…and thus be seen as rejecting…a candidate who has violated no rule, no propriety in the political process and who wants to use the political process—as you utilize the federal appointive one…to clean up a mess.

Be glad there’s somebody who wants to help. So, Pat…lighten up.

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