America loves a political scoundrel. And we've seen a lot of them.
James Michael Curley ruled Boston as Mayor, from his prison cell. Wilbur Mills had his Ways and Means with stripper Fannie Fox. And James Traficant chanted "Beam me up, Mr. Speaker" - all the way to federal prison.
But we've never seen anyone quite like Rod Blagojevich.
On the day his impeachment trial got underway in the Illinois State Senate, Blago was in New York, making his case on national television. On "Today," "Good Morning America," "CBS Morning News," and "The View," he not only proclaimed his innocence, he compared himself to Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi. Only humility, I guess, prevented Blagojevich from comparing himself to Jesus Christ.
But, for all his brazen self-promotion, this must be said: Blagojevich has not yet been convicted of any crime. No doubt, he will be impeached by the Illinois State Legislature this week, without being allowed to respond to any of the charges made so publicly by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. In other words, he will be impeached not because he's guilty, but because he's unpopular.
And that's not fair, not even for Rod Blagojevich.
He may be a scoundrel, but until he's actually found guilty of committing a crime, Blago should be allowed to remain in office.