During my career as a public official, I always tried to steer away from the minority of my colleagues who viewed public service as a potential commercial enterprise. They've always been there and can be found in state capitols and in Washington.
But I find [Blagojevich's] reported behavior troubling. There's a big difference between running a sloppy office and staging a personally-beneficial auction to make policy and personnel decisions. That's what disturbs the public. It bothers me, too.
It would be a mistake, though, to conclude that Chicago or Illinois produced a disproportionate share of bad apples. They're present in both parties whenever opportunity appears.
And while they tarnish the reputation of the entire political profession, there's little evidence suggesting the small minority involved is any larger than it is among doctors, lawyers or corporate executives. In each field, honesty and integrity are the norms. In each, a small number stray, some seriously. Cynics who see corruption as pervasive in politics are wrong.
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