December 9, 2008 10:06AM

Blagojevich: Business as Usual

Reading over the complaint against Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (D) — which is highly entertaining, by the way — I’m struck not by the brazenness of his attempt to “sell” the Senate seat, but by how typical it is of the horse‐​trading done in politics.

Fawned over by lobbyists and staff, politicians tend to collapse together the public interest and their personal interests. It is the norm — not some outrageous deviation — to exchange political favors for help with attaining higher office, including campaign contributions. It’s only a small step from there to private emoluments.

Blagojevich may have crossed a legal line, and his foul language certainly sounds in corruption. (Didjya think that politicians don’t swear when they talk to their buddies?) But it’s a line politicians touch their toes to all the time.

Only if you pretend that politicians are selfless do you find Blagojevich’s horse‐​trading unusual.