Illinois politics: Truth is way stranger than fiction

Since many readers of this blog aren’t local, you may not be familiar with the cornucopia of political plotlines brewing in Illinois. Here’s a rundown on just the last couple months in Illinois politics:

  • Ex-Governor (Ryan), who had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (for his work to reform the death penalty system in Illinois), sentenced to prison for brazen corruption
  • Current Governor (Blagojevich) under an increasing cloud of suspicion, due to questionable “gifts” (I wish my kids got 1500 dollar checks from my friends on their birthdays), and questionable “friends” (the latest of whom missed his indictment hearing last week for his fundraising tactics), leading some to assume he’ll be re-elected (only because the Republican is even less well-liked, and has less cash) but then indicted and won’t be able to serve out his term.
  • Just to my west, the Republican candidate for county board, after being arrested on a few dozen counts of sexually abusing two underage girls (he was a 36 year-old married father of four), committed suicide on Tuesday by driving his car into a concrete barrier at a high rate of speed. His name will “stay on the ballot”:http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/103209,6_1_NA19_CRASH_S1.article.
  • The Speaker of the House, meanwhile, Illinois’ own Dennis Hastert, pledges he’s taking responsibility for the failure of the Republican Congress to keep Congressional Pages safe, while actively trying to lay blame at the feet of anyone but himself.
  • The Democratic candidate for State Treasurer’s family is alleged to have “ties to organized crime”:http://www.illinipundit.com/2006/04/10/giannoulias-financier-for-criminals/.
  • The Democratic candidate running against Hastert, John Laesch, was caught on tape explaining that Abraham Lincoln freed slaves not because it was right, but because it helped the little farmer compete with Big Plantation. Abraham Lincoln: Fighting for the Little Guy. Oy.

And things are about to get even more interesting, with one of our sitting Congressmen (a Republican) about to be implicated in yet another page scandal, this one apparently concerning an underage girl. Good Lord. Update: Or maybe not.
And yeah, there’s more… I just hit some of the high (low?) points. Feel free to post your own favorites of Illinois politics from this cycle in the comments.