Greetings From The Land Of Lincoln —–Part Two Of the Neverending Story

There are two things to said of Willie Brown.——–First, he does not cast a shadow.———Second, when introduced to Bill Clinton, Clinton remarked that he had finally met the “real Slick Willie“.

As a practical illustration of what I am driving at, the Reagan FBI sent a sting crew to trap Willie while he was Speaker of the California Assembly. The brownshoe FBI nailed just about everyone in the statehouse EXCEPT Willie.

So when Willie talks, you listen.Here are two quotes from Willie’s SF Chronicle column for the past two weeks. This is from last week

The prosecution of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is a match made in heaven.

Have you ever seen two people more in love with the spotlight?

In all my years of practicing law, I have never seen a U.S. attorney take to the podium to announce an arrest, then answer any and all questions while at the same time condemning the accused as if he’d already been convicted.

But I’m telling you now, for all the accusations about Blagojevich trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, the feds had better come up with something more solid than just a couple of guys sitting around and talking.

Otherwise, this case could go up in smoke.

Keep in mind, politics is a crazy business. When you’re appointing people, you expect them to be supportive of you. You expect them to be loyal to you. You expect them to work for your re-election.

If someone tells you, “I bring the gay community to the table with me, and they will be supportive of your re-election if you appoint me,” and then you appoint him, is that a quid pro quo?

Or take Caroline Kennedy, who looks like she’s in line to get Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat in New York. If she goes to the governor, David Paterson, and tells him, “I’m Caroline Kennedy, and I have distinguished myself. And I am able to raise a ton of money” – and he appoints her – is there a quid pro quo if she then goes and raises money for him?

And this week

I got a call from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich the other day. The first thing I said to him was, “You know, this call is probably being taped.”

Blagojevich said he had read my column in The Chronicle last week, in which I raised questions about the “pay to play” charges being leveled against him in connection with his pending appointment of someone to fill Barack Obama’s now-empty U.S. Senate seat.

I think he liked how I raised questions about the timing and manner of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s decision to charge him over what appears to be little more than loose conversations he had with his staff.

He laughed, we talked, and all in all he seemed in pretty good spirits for a guy looking at federal charges.

I wouldn’t bet on him stepping aside anytime soon. If anything, his hand is getting stronger by the day.

I can’t go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn’t be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.

Apparently, Obama’s people weren’t happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off {see old Jim’s comment below}.

It was pretty clear that Blagojevich is going to hang tough, especially after the Illinois Supreme Court shot down Madigan’s request that he be forced from office because he supposedly can’t carry out his duties.

It is also pretty clear that despite all the screaming over his appearing to be “selling” the seat in return for political favors or financial considerations, his fellow Democrats are not going to strip him of his power to appoint someone to replace Obama.

Publicly, they may say that’s because a special election would cost the state millions. But the truth is, the Democrats are deathly afraid that with all these corruption stories swirling around, a do-gooder Republican could win the seat and damage the Democrats’ chances of holding a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

A wee anecdote to explain our lad, Emanuel.
Obama spoke at a roast of Emanuel a couple of years ago. He recounted that Emanuel worked at a deli as a teenager. Obama told of the accident Emanuel had on the job which sliced off most of Emanuel’s middle finger and, as Obama termed it, instantly rendered him mute.

  • Plastic Paddy

    In all my years of practicing law, I have never seen a U.S. attorney take to the podium to announce an arrest

    . . . and how many US attorneys, Mr Brown, have you seen arrest a sitting governor?

    The elite political families in Illinois (the Madigans, the Daleys, the Jacksons, the Strogers et cetera) have made the state a mockery – at precisely the moment when Illinois should be basking in the glory of sending Barack Obama to the White House. See former Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene’s comments on the matter.

  • Ritual moral outrage is OK with me if you have the time.

    Fifteen yards and loss of down, though, for context plucking.

    “In all my years of practicing law, I have never seen a U.S. attorney take to the podium to announce an arrest, then answer any and all questions while at the same time condemning the accused as if he’d already been convicted.”

    Fitzgerald’s intent was to stampede Blagojevich, the Democrat Governor of Illinois, into resigning just as the DOJ did with Spizer, the Democrat Governor of New York. He did not succeed.

    Brown is giving you a heads up that your expectations are a wee bit high if you expect a conviction on the play for pay wiretaps. He is also hinting that Obama may have been the one to tell Fitzgerald to book ’em Dano.