Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2008 / 21 Kislev 5769
Will feditis spread to Obama and Daley?
By John Kass
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Why are Chicago machine Democrats lining up against Gov. Rod "Dead Meat" Blagojevich like a bunch of thin-lipped Victorian physicians in some old movie set in a musty insane asylum?
Since Tuesday, they've been swinging their silver hammers at his cranium with righteous gusto. They're eager to give him a political lobotomy.
Why? That's easy.
Gov. Dead Meat is infected, not with some mental disorder, but with something far worse. He's got a raging case of feditis. They don't know if it's the isolated feditis or the creeping kind, threatening not only the locals but the reform image of their guy about to assume the White House.
As everybody knows by now, Dead Meat was caught on federal tape, allegedly trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. So Dead Meat was declared insane.
They pointed to those f-bombs on the federal tape and that crazy hair of his. The other paper in town even ran a hair "expose" on its Page 2, saying the governor's ample hair helmet proved he was mentally unstable.
But that same day, I diagnosed Blagojevich as quite sane, because all he did was act like just another corrupt Chicago politician. He squeezed people. That's how things are done in the city that is not Camelot.
Still, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to declare Blagojevich "disabled." She called on the justices - some of whom are there by grace of the Chicago machine - to remove Blagojevich, pronto.
"State government is paralyzed by a governor who is incapable of governing," Madigan insisted. "We would look to the fact that the term 'disability' legally is very broad, that it is not simply isolated to a physical or mental disability."
Incapable of what? Signing his name to bills? He can sign his name, to bills, or to a federal witness list, which would be much nicer. But they don't want that, or another week or two of Gov. Dead Meat leading the nightly news.
After stubbornly refusing to see Chicago politics as it really is, the national media are finally paying attention. That's great news for most everybody, except for our politicians.
Madigan's stunt was treated as legitimate jaw-dropping news by the national networks. She declared herself "the people's lawyer," over and over. It has a nice ring to it, "people's lawyer," and I thought of one of those TV shows I would watch only on pain of death, like "Law and Order," where the earnest attorneys make the big speech for the public good, before they cut to the Depends commercial.
What they didn't report on the evening news is this: Lisa Madigan is more than just "the people's lawyer." She's a candidate for governor and Dead Meat is in her way. Her daddy is Mike Madigan, powerful boss of the machine's 13th Ward and speaker of the Illinois House who hates Dead Meat.
Her dad wants to make her governor. She wants to be governor. And the best way to get there is to whisk Dead Meat into a political straitjacket and lock him in the political version of a padded cell.
This business about the governor's sanity didn't begin when he was charged. It began during the state budget battle last summer, when Mike Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, told reporters in Springfield that the governor was a psycho.
"Let me give you a little hint: Go to a computer and Google 'sociopath.' In layman's terms it lays out the traits and diagnosis of behavior that accurately fits Blagojevich," Brown said.
That was funny. And now, Jay Leno and Dave Letterman and Conan O'Brien repeat variations of it, buttressing the Democratic mantra that what comes out of a madman's mouth cannot be believed.
But just imagine if Dead Meat talks to the feds, or stands up on his hind legs to fight back if fellow Democrats impeach him in the Illinois legislature. The governor might actually mention a few of the legislators' deals. Ouch.
Obama, though not personally implicated in any of this, wouldn't like it much. The national media outlets were desperate to portray him as someone about to transcend our politics. But in Chicago he was just a smooth guy on the way up, looking the other way.
If crazy hair and strange utterances - even frightening expressions in public - are the criteria for a politician who's been "disabled," I wonder why the Illinois Democrats didn't apply their standards to another guy.
Mayor Richard Daley.
Sometimes he frightens people, his hair gets wild, his eyebrows fly off his forehead, his face turns purple, his jaw juts out, like when he's channeling his inner Mayor Chucky.
It happened a few years ago, when the Chicago Tribune revealed he gave $100 million in affirmative action contracts to white guys who were friends of his with Outfit connections. Even Obama didn't question the mayor's sanity then. Nor did any other Democrat who valued his or her career.
In Illinois, I guess, political mental health is just a state of mind.
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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.
© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.