Is Blago nuts?

Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is a piece of work. He is vulgar like a lowlife gangster on a bad day. He is corrupt like the leader of an African satrapy. He sought higher office solely to exploit it for his personal benefit. From the moment Obama was elected president, according to Politico, he schemed “how he could make money off it or steal political leverage from it.”

The scale of his turpitude and betrayal are, to use the word Patrick Fitzgerald resorted to yesteray, staggering. Rick Moran rightly distinguishes him from his corrupt Illinois forebears:

The malfeasance of Governor Rod Blagojevich is so outrageous, so brazen, so breathtaking in its scope and character that even jaded journalistic hacks whose beat has been the statehouse for years are shocked. In the long history of official Illinois corruption, the Blagojevich schemes to personally enrich himself, enrich his cronies, and use the power of his office to further his nefarious designs are unprecedented.

He disgraces us and our form of government. Some punishment beyond imprisonment is his due.

Blago has apprently been under investigation for a long time. When it became apparent that fundraiser Tony Rezko was talking with authorities following his conviction on corruption charges, Blago must have known that he was a target of law enforcement.

And yet Blago only ramped up his criminality. He discussed his plans to trade the appointment of Obama’s successor freely over the telephone with numerous advisors. According to the linked Politico story, Blago “acknowledged that it was unlikely that Obama would tap him for HHS secretary or an ambassadorship because he was under federal investigation.”

Is Blago nuts? That’s the first question that crossed my mind yesterday upon hearing of the charge that forced the authorities to arrest Blago yesterday before he exercised his power to appoint Obama’s successor. He must feel the exhilaration and invulnerability of the pathological narcissist.

Is insanity a defense to corruption charges? That’s the second question that crossed my mind yesterday. It is, though I’m not aware of it ever having been pursued in such a case. Perhaps the time has come. Federal law generally provides that those charged with federal offenses can be judged not guilty by reason of insanity if “the defendant, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts.”

Given the nature and quality of the evidence of Blago’s alleged offenses (summarized in the Department of Justice press release), one has to wonder if Blago’s attorneys won’t be sorely tempted to sign up some psychiatrists and seek to prove that their client is laboring under the requisite form of insanity.

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