After the string of Republican House defeats, indictments and convictions, plus Ted Stevens’ conviction, Joseph Cao’s election win over the disgraced William Jefferson of LA-02 comes as a much-needed boost to the GOP. Quin Hillyer paid attention to this race several weeks ago, and his article is the best account of Cao’s biography you are likely to find. Sharp, highly-educated and successful Asian Catholics from Louisiana do seem to be the best thing the Republicans have going for themselves, and this would be the case even if the GOP were not the ramshackle disaster that it is today.
The first I heard of Blagojevich’s arrest came through my front window from a passer-by talking to someone on his phone, “They have arrested our governor.” This is turning out to be a good week, I thought to myself. I assumed that Blagojevich was going to be brought down by whatever Rezko was giving the feds as part of his bargain with them, but the news about his trying to sell the open Senate seat for cash or other favors was like something out of a cartoon or perhaps a Northern version of Kingfish. Illinois has long had a reputation for corrupt politics, but in the last decade it seems as if it is striving to outdo all others in having crooks in office, while Louisiana is going in quite the other direction. Like Reihan, I imagine that “Candidate 5,” the person implicated as a potential buyer of the Senate seat, is probably State Sen. Emil Jones. If that is the case, it would be Obama’s ties to Jones, much more than any ties to Blagojevich or Rezko, that will cause people to look again at Obama’s Illinois connections. Jones’ role as Obama’s patron and sponsor in the state legislature has gone largely unremarked in the national media, except in John Kass‘ columns. It is not an exaggeration to say that Obama would probably not be where he is today without Jones, and if the latter were implicated it would be at the very least an embarrassment for the incoming administration.