The pro-Trumpers spun it all by saying his Blagogevich move was a shot across the bow of his enemies in the "Deep State." And the anti-Trump camp wrung their hands and said it was an "I've-got-your-back" message to potential witnesses against him who've been caught up in the Robert Mueller investigation.
But left out of all this are the people who bear the true cost of political corruption.
They don't have spinners, or spouses like
Political corruption and the excusing of it through presidential pardon (Trump) or through intrigue, as in a 40-minute private meeting on an airport tarmac (Clinton), has a cost.
It's not about money. It's about infection.
Trump dangling pardons as he himself is under investigation in the Mueller Russia collusion probe is full of theatrical drama. It's fascinating in the way political intrigue among the powerful is always fascinating, like a game of thrones. It is the true pastime of
The powerful don't bear the cost of corruption. They know the game. They understand it. They're good at it. They write the rules. They know how to bend them. They're the masters of our universe.
But you are not a master of the universe. You are a taxpayer.
And you think about wanting to follow the rules until you see some politician, Democrat or Republican, getting away with things you'd go to jail for doing.
The infection grows. Resentment builds and it turns to poison. It's dangerous. Ask the French.
A thoughtful man might think this out, but Trump is not a thoughtful man. He's about the art of the deal, about instinct and bluff and leverage.
And Blagojevich, a pathetic third-rate crook and grafter, offers Trump leverage, and a story the president can make his own.
Blagojevich is the kind of politician Trump knows only too well. During his campaign for president, Trump told us as much, said he knew how to buy them and sell them.
Blago was for sale. People's lives were ruined. A life was ended,
Blagojevich is no victim. He shook down a hospital. He tried to sell a
And in the political mud of
If the president had a thoughtful side, he might consider that the bipartisan Illinois Combine is the same as the
In Blagojevich, Trump also sees
Fitzgerald is a friend of former FBI director and Trump enemy
So on Air Force One last week, Trump floated Blagojevich like a meat balloon.
A presidential pardon offers political utility. Former President
And former President
Trump is playing his own political game. In a discussion with reporters about pardoning pro-Trump conservative
"I'll tell you another one ... there's another one that I'm thinking about.
He was wrong.
It was 14, not 18 years. Blagojevich has served less than half of that.
"He said something to the effect like, 'What do I get?' ... stupid thing to say. But he's sort of saying ... he's gonna make a
Really, Mr. President?
Because you saw
Or because you think releasing Blagojevich now wins you sympathy points with the public?
The cost of political corruption in America -- and corruption's epicenter is in dysfunctional
It's about what they take from the people.
And it's much more valuable than money.