Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Obama's Rules, or Chicago Rules?"

In the L A Times Doyle McManus writes: "Barack Obama may soon face a defining dilemma in the wake of Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich's alleged attempt to sell the president-elect's Senate seat: What standard of conduct should Obama impose on aides acting on his behalf?"

Indeed. Prior to January swearing in Obama will be tested....not by terrorists, although that could also occur, but more by this situation with Blago.

McManus continues: "By now, three days after the prosecutor blew the whistle, Obama should know what most of the facts are. When the governor's side said they wanted something in return for putting Jarrett in the Senate, how did Obama's aide react? By rebuffing the idea and calling the police? (That would have been the most prudent response.) Or in some less stiff-necked way that in the cold light of a transcript will look less high-minded?

In short, when Obama's team talked with the governor, were they operating under Obama's rules -- or Chicago rules? More important: How will Obama react if someone on his team made a misstep?

His actions over the next week could set a tone for his administration. They will mark a real-world test of his rhetoric about ethics and transparency.

"There are clever politicians who conduct all their phone conversations as if they knew a tape was running," said Suzanne Garment, a lawyer who has written extensively on modern political scandals. "Let's hope that happened here."

But, she noted, "even if they behaved like model citizens, it's likely that there's something on the tape that will be at least a minor embarrassment."

This indeed gathers steam as the plot rolls along, and it may get a loud louder in the near future...although I agree with one FOXNews statement yesterday morning that most likely Fitzgerald ran with his best shot when he unveiled the limited conversation recorded from the hundreds of hours of material available.

McManus' entire LATimes piece is here!


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