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Even governor must get his day in court

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

What a difference a week can make.

It was a little more than a week ago that almost everyone had said that Rod Blagojevich was done as governor, that he should resign from office, after being arrested on federal corruption charges.

Now, many are changing their tune, pointing out that Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty, and that some of the allegations aren’t nearly as bad as they sounded just a week ago.

Indeed, Blagojevich deserves his day in court.

However, regardless of whether Blagojevich can be convicted of any crimes, it is time for him to step down from the governor’s post.

When he first ran for office, Blagojevich played big on the corruption charges tied to his predecessor, George Ryan. Blagojevich said that if he were elected governor, things would change, that there would be no more “business as usual.” That’s one big campaign pledge that Blagojevich has failed to fulfill.

The governor will have a chance to tell his story in court, and he ultimately could be found innocent of any charges.

Yet, as many have said in the past week, he has lost his ability to govern.

Commentator after commentator has talked of how Blagojevich has chosen not to work with others, whether it be members of the Illinois General Assembly, those representing us in Washington or governors in other states. Everyone, including ranking U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, has spoken about Blagojevich not showing any interest in working with them.

The eavesdrop tapes that have thus far been released include profanity-laced tirades by the governor and his wife as they allegedly tried to personally benefit from his office. Those tapes, in our mind, only seem to show that the governor is concerned about no one but himself.

We’re not naïve enough to believe that there’s not some horse-trading going on behind the scenes as government officials try to work out deals. But it crosses the line when someone tries to line his or her own pockets.

After making two campaign stops here in his first run for governor, Blagojevich never acted as a friend of Vandalia, whether it be trying to shutter our prison or closing down the Vandalia Statehouse. And we’re just one of the towns hit by what he called attempts to ease budget constraints.

That comes from a governor who causes the state to pay tens of thousands of dollars per week in those weeks that he has chosen to work with legislators and other state officials out of the state capitol in Springfield.

His tenure as governor has been laced with one troubled incident after another. His arrest is just the latest.

Regardless of whether he is convicted of any crimes, Rod Blagojevich no longer deserves to be our governor.

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