If Stupid Were A Crime . . .

Eugene Robinson would be in jail today after writing this ignorant and unintelligent column:

[I]t is unclear to me what else Blagojevich has done that a duly constituted jury would find illegal. Even in the matter of his menacing mop, at worst he's a co-conspirator in a dastardly act committed by his barber.

Try reading the Illinois House's impeachment report (PDF) or the US Attorney's criminal complaint (PDF) next time Gene. It will save you from the stupid.

Speaking for me only

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    If stupid were a crime, who (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:57:14 AM EST
    could be a Senator from Louisiana?

    I don't get it (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jjc2008 on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:18:50 AM EST
    MSNBC and NBC has certainly been irritating (to me) over the last year.  The sexism, the blatant hypocrisy (from Matthews to Williams to Gregory) in how they propped up, defended, spun FOR the GOP and W for years and then SUDDENLY a few of them do a 180 and they see themselves as heroes of the left (laughable if not so pathetically true with some on the left).  Even last night Brian Williams, after pontificating on how so emotionally moved he was by the inauguration of President Obama, still felt compelled to spin into defense of W, and how President Bush had to spend all his time defending us from attack.  Then again, since this is  a person who actually said he respects and admires Limbaugh,  I should not be surprised.

    BUT why indeed are any of the pundits spending so much time on Blago anyway.  Frankly, let the prosector and defense lawyers and IL politicians do their job, follow the law, and then move on.  
    I care about what is going on with health care, with the economy, with education and all these idiots want to do is interview and write about this guy.  WHY?

    My favorite Blago story ... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 10:36:11 AM EST
    is here.  It talks about how Blago wouldn't let The View's hair and makeup staff touch his hair.

    And my favorite section is this:

    In fact, the only person to get near Blago's bangs was Joy Behar, who gave his famous moptop a tousling -- one that came as a total surprise to Blagojevich and `View' staffers.

    "That was all Joy doing that all on her own," says the source.

    Joy's own doing?  Conspiracy Theorists may think different.


    Hmm.. how about a War on Stupid (none / 0) (#1)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 06:52:49 AM EST
    to replace the War on Drugs?

    Could his "charm" offensive be working? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:00:59 AM EST
    I personally think Robinson has said a lot of stupid things in the past year, but I am surprised by this. I feel like some people are perfectly happy to have Blago impeached but are afraid of letting him have his day in court.

    Public opinion won't matter (none / 0) (#3)
    by ThatOneVoter on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:03:38 AM EST
    if he is impeached, and then found guilty in a criminal trial.

    Yeah but my point is that.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:34:20 AM EST
    ...suddenly so many pundits don't seem to want to see this public trial. All over CNN and MSNBC yesterday they were pontificating about how since it is likely he would beat the charges that impeachment would be enough.

    Robinson is just trumpeting the latest media narrative on Blago. I don't think that Fitzgerald is the type of prosecutor who is too influenced by that though so unless Blago cops a plea I think there will be a criminal trial.


    if stupid were a crime, (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:54:02 AM EST
    no nation could possibly build enough jail cells.

    in the "stupid column wars", i think colbert king has mr. robinson beat, though not by much. in robinson's favor, he's at least flocking a currently living horse, as opposed to king's nearly decade dead one.

    the stench is stronger on king's column.

    LOL no kidding... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:03:45 AM EST
    ..if only Bill Clinton could resign as ex-president then maybe it would be easier to disrespect him.

    I don't see the harm in letting Blago (none / 0) (#9)
    by allimom99 on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:43:38 AM EST
    have his day in court. That's generally how we're supposed to operate. He hasn't even been INDICTED yet. I'm not defending him - by all accounts, pretty much everything has been for sale in IL. What in h*ll is wrong with due process?

    If Fitzgerald has such a great case, indict and try Blago already and settle it. If you look at Blago's actual record, he's actually been pretty progressive. Is it so embarrassing for us that these allegations are against a DEMOCRAT that we're willing to cancel the man's right to confront his accusers in court just so he'll go away? Seems hypocritical to me.

    He has been indicted (none / 0) (#11)
    by DFLer on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:17:11 AM EST
    by the Illinois Legislature in the form of an impeachment.

    Did you read the Illinois doc? Says that in the investigation committee process, the Gov. had the right to attend all sessions, to question witnesses (aka confront his accusers?), to present his own evidence, was given copies of all the documents and proceedings, etc. Sound kinda like due process...but I'm not a lawyer.


    No he didn't (none / 0) (#12)
    by cotton candy on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:39:24 AM EST
    I am not one to defend Blago at all but I am one to defend the law.  One of Blago's many errors is that he is trying to claim that the trial is unfair by protesting it. Duh! He technically doesn't have the right to call witnesses at HIS impeachment trial by the state leg. --that will have to wait until his indictment and subsequent trial by the feds.

    Blago hasn't been charged with anything so in many ways Robinson is right that this is mere political theatre.


    Defend what law? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:49:25 AM EST
    What law are you defending?

    No, he didn't what? (none / 0) (#22)
    by DFLer on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 01:41:52 PM EST
    I referred to the above posted pdf about the investigating committee, which acted sort of like a grand jury, then brought in their indictment of impeachment....the Governor WAS allowed to call his own witnesses, according to that. Did you read it?

    The terms are not synonymous (none / 0) (#13)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 09:47:54 AM EST
    i.e., indictment and impeachment, as far as I know.

    But then, I'm not a lawyer.  Maybe there are a few of them here who could comment on your equation of a political process with a courtroom process.


    This has been (none / 0) (#15)
    by Makarov on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:19:10 AM EST
    my concern since the original arrest. If the evidence is so obvious and overwhelming, why is the US Attorney's office taking so long to indict?

    It's not like they couldn't subsequently bring more charges. Something doesn't smell right about this one. As I recall, you didn't see Scooter Libby arrested BEFORE a grand jury indicted him.


    bad comparison (none / 0) (#17)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:24:40 AM EST
    That's an apples-oranges comparison.  It is far more typical for the feds to indict and then arrest in white collar type cases.  But, there are times, when other concerns lead them to arrest on a complaint before proceeding to indictment.  In this case, he felt it necessary to step in to stop the conspiracy before it could be fully executed--to prevent the appointment to the U.S. Senate of someone who literally bought the seat.  That is why he acted so quickly.  The fact that he is taking the time that the law allows at this point just means that he is now taking the care that he would have taken originally--interviewing witnesses, etc.

    If stupid were a crime... (none / 0) (#10)
    by pluege on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:43:42 AM EST
    Eugene Robinson would have a whole lotta company in the clinker.

    I think "stupid" is a bit harsh (none / 0) (#16)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:20:29 AM EST
    There are a lot of legal experts, including some experienced federal criminal lawyers whom I respect, who have indicated that it's not exactly clear that what Blago is alleged to do with respect to the Senate seat constitutes a federal crime.  

    I think the guy is a disgrace and deserves to be booted from office, but to say that Robinson's comment that it is unclear to him that Blago has done anything that a jury would find illegal is hardly "stupid."

    You are conflating two things (none / 0) (#18)
    by Steve M on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:33:25 AM EST
    It is reasonable to believe that Blagojevich may not have done anything illegal with respect to the Senate seat.  But that's not what Robinson wrote.  It's somewhat less reasonable to contend that Blagojevich has not done anything illegal, period.

    It is NOT reasonable to believe (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:48:34 AM EST
    that if Fitzgerald proves his allegations regarding Blago and the senate seat, he did nothing wrong. Indeed, to me it is impossible to argue he did nothing criminal.

    impossible? (none / 0) (#23)
    by txpublicdefender on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 01:56:46 PM EST
    Are you serious?  There have been several articles written about this question.  Most of the experienced federal criminal lawyers I have spoken with say that it is not clear-cut at all that what is captured on wiretaps is sufficient to establish a federal criminal charge.  Of course, there may be much more evidence now that wasn't on the wiretaps.  But, just based on the complaint alone, a number of people who do this for a living have told me that it is not at all clear cut that he committed a federal crime.

    This NY Times article is just one example of some of the articles I referred to:  In Blagojevich Case, Is it a Crime, or Just Talk?  


    Links would be welcome (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 02:16:19 PM EST
    I reference the entire complaint as neither you nor any "criminal defense lawyer" has actually heard the tapes.

    BTW (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 02:23:39 PM EST
    In the article you linked, the following defense lawyers are quoted"

    Bob Bennett who said "Robert S. Bennett, one of Washington's best-known white-collar criminal defense lawyers, said Mr. Blagojevich faced nearly insurmountable legal problems in a case that includes a raft of corruption accusations unrelated to Mr. Obama's Senate seat. But Mr. Bennett said the case raised some potentially thorny issues about political corruption."

    the other lawyer, imo, did not read the complaint. the quote ""It's a very difficult case for a number of reasons; not the least is the nebulous nature of the charges and the inherently difficult issues when you're talking about a person executing his First Amendment right to promote a particular politician," said Michael D. Monico, a former federal prosecutor who is now a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago."

    The charges are not nebulous. They are quite clear. For example, there was no "executing" [sic] of First Amendment rights by Blago here. He was not promoting any candidate. In short, Monico's comment is pure gibberish.

    Monico makes another silly statement:

    ""Merely thinking about something is not a crime," said Mr. Monico, a lawyer for Christopher Kelly, a former Blagojevich fund-raiser who was indicted last year on tax charges "Just talking about something is not a crime. You need another action for someone to commit a crime.""

    Duh. Fitzgerald describes many action beyond "just talking." Indeed, there are directives given by Blago to Harris.

    Let's stick to the facts please.  


    Excuse me (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:47:36 AM EST
    IF Fitzgeral's allegations are proven, of course Blago committed multiple crimes. It is stupid to say other wise imo.

    But more important to my post, it is Robinson who called Blago stupid.  I was playing with Robinson's words.

    In short, do you object to "Robinson calling Blago stupid?


    other "crimes" (none / 0) (#26)
    by diogenes on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:05:58 PM EST
    Blago wasn't impeached until Fitz came out with the charges.  Apparently everything else he did didn't merit impeachment, and if he had appointed Obama's candidate as senator Blago would be an un impeached governor regardless of his alleged other Illinois corruption.