Note: "former Governor" is a title of trust and respect, and Ryan has forfeited both. Please refresh your memory of the details of his criminal activities before you read on: it's necessary to understand Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL)... well, "failure" is a nice, non-judgmental word, I suppose. John Kass likes "foolish":
Just before Thanksgiving, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) moistened his finger and, as he has done so many times in his career, held the digit aloft to check the prevailing winds.
This time, when he figured the winds were just right, Durbin lofted his trial balloon that carried with it the hopes and dreams of the corrupt bipartisan Combine that runs this state.
Durbin said he was considering writing a letter asking Republican President Bush to commute the prison sentence of the corrupt and unrepentant former Republican Gov. George Ryan.
Because, hey, what does Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) care about dead kids, anyway?That's what Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) wants Bush to do: commute the sentence of a man indirectly responsible for the death of six kids. And one who still hasn't shown any repentance for his crimes. But then again, as Kass noted, that's just business as usual in the Illinois Combine:
From Chicago's City Hall to Springfield, our politicians continually offer their testament, not by words, but by their deeds. They install their children or the idiot offspring of allies into public office. They endorse or enable corrupt colleagues. Their sons and nephews get the city sewer contracts, and other friends get the state casino deals. Others ride the white unicorn and talk reform and get the dream house with the help of the influence peddler who'll soon be waiting for his own presidential pardon.
And many of us look the other way, because after such constant assault, we've become desperate for the comforts of myth.
I've long disagreed with Durbin on policy, but respect him. I don't think he's corrupt. Yet what he did here was profoundly foolish, and even if he panics and changes his tune tomorrow, he let Illinois know where we stand: in the back of the line, where the political class figures we belong, our necks craning upward, watching his balloon float above us, with all Ryan's hopes inside.
So don't commute Ryan's sentence, President Bush. Leave him to rot in a federal pen. He deserves nothing but our contempt.
PS: Anyone who is still undecided on this issue should consider: the call for commutation is being echoed by Rod Blagojevich, a man on track for his own set of indictments on corruption charges (assuming that they can be made prior to January 20th, at least). You'd have to be either a rampaging idiot or the ultimate in cynical weasels to let him make any sort of political decision.