Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Warning to America's Governors!

Attention, 48 of the country's 50 state chief executives:

If I move to your state, be very, very afraid.

In the early 2000s, I lived in Illinois. The governor was George Ryan. He'd been the secretary of state where he ran a corrupt shop: driver's licenses were available for bribes. He eventually became governor but left in disgrace and was later convicted of all corruption counts at his 2006 trial. Ryan had been a pharmacist in downstate Kankakee before entering political life. So while he didn't run on a clean government platform per se, he at least had a wholesome, small-town biography.


In late 2005 I moved to New York. The governor was George Pataki, but his term was ending and the new guy was clearly going to be Eliot Spitzer. He was the successful attorney general who made his reputation going after Wall Street firms and other high profile corporate crime. He promised to clean up government in New York State. In fact, a campaign slogan was "Day One, everything changes." Spitzer was elected governor in a landslide in November 2006.

Well, we know how that ended. As David Letterman put it last night: "You remember Eliot Spitzer, right? ... he likes whores." And just like that, he was gone.


In 2007 I moved back to Illinois. The governor (for now!) is Rod Blagojevich. He had been my U.S. Representative when I lived in Chicago the first time, before becoming governor in 2003. He ran in the wake of the George Ryan scandal, and promised to clean up state government. And, uh, his entire reign as governor has been clouded by ethical scandals. From Tony Rezko to pay-to-play to Public Official A, it is fair to say he over-promised and under-delivered.

Now comes this morning: the feds arrested Gov. Rod on federal corruption charges.

Don't these guys learn?

Are you listening, chief executives? Clean up your act, lest MPF004 move to your state! Your career will be doomed!!!

Update: Good grief. I wrote this in jest early Tuesday morning, before we knew what was going on with Blago. Clearly the stuff he is accused of is far beyond what anyone suspected. It looks like you can add the Spitzer AND Ryan captions to Blago.


dfeinstein said...

Has any other state ever had 2 Governors in prison at the same time? Illinois is number 1!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?