In Acts 8:18-24, Simon Magus attempts to purchase the ability to infuse people with the Holy Ghost. Thus began the concept of simony, the buying of religious offices. Yesterday, the governor of Illinois was arrested for attempting, among other things, to sell President-elect Obama's now-vacated Senate seat. There has been a general cry of outrage, but the simply fact is, all Blago was asking for was money. Really, is that so wrong? Well, illegal, yes. Horribly distasteful, yes. Subverting democracy, yes. Betraying the electorate in a way that confirms the worst paranoia of the electorate, yes. But wrong?
Who should get the seat, who is going to get it, and who can afford it are separate questions, I suppose, but if there is a special election, for example, candidates will spend money. "Who is going to get it" and "Who can afford it" are intertwined. For example, Oberweis and Ryan and Keyes are all still around. None of them are getting it, and all could probably afford it (well, maybe not Keyes.) On that basis the seat was never going to the highest bidder. The popular candidates are people like Jesse Jackson, the younger, and Tammy Duckworth, but really, does it make a difference? The people who were going to get the seat would have been the same anyway. Typically, a spouse is nominated, but I can't see Michelle Obama having the time.
There are advantages, as I see it, to a straight forward above-board bribe for power. For one thing, there is no payback because "you owe the guy." You have your senate seat, and the governor's wife has her cush job. Things are even. If you just got the job "on merit," then there'd always be a feeling of gratitude. In Roddy's proposed system, there would be no future favors. The favors would all be in the past. You'd have your Senate seat. If Blago called for a favor, you could tell him where to go. What's he gonna do, take it back? Royal families have been selling patents of nobility for centuries.
On a side note, I was also amused at the outrage" over an Illinois governor being corrupt, because we've never seen that happen before.
As to who should get the seat. I'll tell you who could win an Illinois election for senate: Mike Ditka, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Daley. None of them want the job. (Though they'd all probably be fairly good at it, at least in comparison to the bozos we have in Congress now. Even Da Coach.)
I wouldn't mind seeing Paul Simon take the seat. The politician is dead, but the singer/songwriter is alive. He has the right name for an Illinois senator. And he once beat Connie Hawkins at one-on-one.
Here's my suggestion: Illinois should forfeit that seat. I say give it to whomever winds up losing the Minnesota senate race. That way both sides in Minnesota win, and Illinois has at least one political office that cannot involve it in a political scandal. When Obama's term as senator is over, Coleman or Franken can either move to Illinois or someone else can run.