The opening statements of the trial of former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich (D-in case you forgot) started today. In a sign that this truly will be one of the great spectator sports, Blagojevich's attorneys have mounted an interesting defense of their client.
Blagojevich’s attorney, Sam Adam, argues in a motion filed this morning that the federal wiretaps that form the bulk of the government’s evidence are tapes of a politician engaged in political speech—and therefore untouchable under the First Amendment. “In this case, the defendant was engaged in political speech and expression,’’ argues the motion. “The government alleges that the political process in which he was engaged is criminal. This is a violation of the defendant’s rights of freedom of speech and expression afforded him under the United States Constitution.’’
Well, I guess by this logic every criminal act committed by a politician is covered.
- Nixon and Watergage Check!
- Ted Stevens Check!
- Bill Clinton lying under oath Check!
- George Ryan selling government contracts* Check!
In reality this sounds like a rather sharp indictment of the entire political process. It doesn't matter if it's Washington, D.C. or Springfield, IL. Too many of our politicians feel that what they do is entitled to them. The quid pro quo nature of just about everything that our politicians do would leave most Americans feeling like they needed a shower at the end of the day. You see, when selling a Senate seat feels like business as usual why would you ever think that you were doing anything wrong?
*Seriously I could have made this entire list about former Governors of Illinois. There's something really wrong with that state.