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A Test of Integrity…


Dennis Byrne has an interesting article on Real Clear Politics involving Patrick Fitzgerald, his work to clean up corruption in Illinois politics, and a question of the President’s integrity.  It makes for an awfully good read, and I wanted to share a snippet with everyone this morning:

President Bush faces a major test of his integrity when, or if, he ever gets around to reappointing Patrick Fitzgerald as U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

The nation needs to know that Bush’s failure to back Fitzgerald will betray a gapping hole in the conscience of the president. While most of America may think of Fitzgerald as the aggressive prosecutor in the Valerie Plame affair and the bombing of the World Trade Center, those of us in Chicago have a closer view of the man.

He is one of the few government officials left in Chicago and Illinois that loathes corruption, and who is in a position to do something about as the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois.

In that role, he has put away former Illinois Gov. George Ryan and a host of other grafters. He is scrutinizing current Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration for its hiring practices. And he is hot on the trail of the corruption that pervades Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s City Hall. Score another for Fitzgerald as a federal jury this week convicted Daley’s patronage chief and three other men on charges that they engaged in an elaborate and long-running scheme to reward the mayor’s campaign workers with choice jobs….

This is more than a parochial political battle. It bears watching by a nation that has become disgusted by corruption on the federal level. Chicago and Illinois have reached a critical stage. On one side are the co-joined interests of both political parties, and on the other is the much smaller group who value honesty and good government. Their only standard-bearer is Patrick Fitzgerald.

Bush’s failure to reappoint Fitzgerald would tell the nation that he doesn’t mind the kind of corruption that infects Chicago and Illinois. It will be the kind of surrender to the most destructive kind of politics that have disgusted so many Americans.

For every "news" naysayer out there who calls us, progressive bloggers, some sort of unwashed horde out to get our hands on the power reins or who accuses us of being angry, just read this article. The sort of corruption that permeates every level of our political system:  from the local city council, to state government, to federal — why wouldn’t we be disgusted with how things are going in America?

Progressives who blog or hang out on blogs as readers or commenters do so because they have had enough of what passes as "politics as usual."  The American public deserves a whole lot better than what we are getting now: politicians that take bribes, spend their time chasing down big money donors to squeeze out a little more juice for their election coffers, passing out the public dime to crony corporations through no bid contracts, little to no oversight of whatever actions those in power care to take.

I, for one, have seen enough corruption and self-dealing to last a lifetime just in the last five years.  It is time for someone to stand up and provide a little check and balance.  Public corruption prosecutions are a good way of letting in a little much-needed sunshine into an dank, dark, infested rat hole.  And in America today, we have far too many rats.

President Bush, re-appoint Pat Fitzgerald in Illinois.  Do the right thing…for once.

PS — via Selise, I hear that C-Span will be broadcasting the Judiciary Committee hearings on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld beginning at 9:30 am ET.  Heads up gang, could get testy.  Also, the Pentagon has tried a pre-emptive move on the hearings by saying that all detainees now get Geneva protections, according to the Financial Times.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com