Politicians are falling to scandal at what seems like an historic
rate. It would go a long way if they would at least come clean when
caught. Be sorry. Apologize.

As it is, they are a defiant lot. Most prominently, Illinois Gov.
Rod Blagojevich. His press conference yesterday after the Illinois
House voted almost unanimously for impeachment was even more political theater.

Saying the Illinois House impeachment vote against him
was “not a surprise,” a combative Gov. Rod Blagojevich defended his
work in office and again asserted his innocence of any criminal
wrongdoing, vowing to “continue to fight every step of the way.”

At a brief news conference Friday afternoon, Blagojevich sought to
undermine the House vote by depicting himself as a public servant who
does not deserve to be kicked out of office but rather should be
recognized for saving lives.

Blagojevich said a hostile House had conspired to impeach him since shortly after his re-election in 2006.

“From the very moment of my re-election I’ve been engaged in a
struggle with the House to get things done for people,” Blagojevich
said, flanked by a dozen people who he said had benefited from his
programs.

Yes, he trotted out a stage full of human props. And he argued that
his efforts to give them good service programs was what got him in
trouble.

Blagojevich said he is confident he will be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

That’s a common theme in political corruption cases.

A grand jury has indicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
on 12 counts of theft, perjury and misconduct stemming from her
romantic relationship with a Baltimore developer, the state prosecutor
said Friday.

But that’s not all… 

The prosecutor’s office charged Mrs. Dixon with four
counts of theft, saying she used gift cards donated for needy families
to buy presents for herself around Christmas every year from 2004 to
2007.

Mrs. Dixon, a prominent Democrat who was elected the city’s first
female mayor in 2007, also was charged with four counts of perjury for
not documenting gifts from two developers doing business with the city.
The developers are not named in the indictment of Mrs. Dixon, but one
is thought to be Ronald H. Lipscomb, who was indicted earlier.

Mrs. Dixon said she would not step down as mayor and defended herself Friday afternoon.

“I am being unfairly accused,” she said. “Time will prove that I
have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found
innocent of these charges.”

On a radio news report today in Chicago, I heard a clip of a member
of the state House who said he voted for impeachment because he doesn’t
want his children, or the children of Illinois, to grow up thinking
that politicians are corrupt and that’s okay.

It would reinforce this teaching moment if they would take
responsibility. Admit human failing and be an example of contrition and
conversion.

In the case of Blagojevich, at least it’s an oddly instructive saga combining Greek tragedy and English literature.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....