Dick’s Folly

Has Dick Durbin lost his mind?

It’s hard to think of any other explanation for the news today that he is considering asking President George W. Bush to commute George Ryan’s sentence.

“Let’s look at the price he’s paid,” Durbin told reporters.

Um, Dick, let’s look at the price we’ve paid.

“His family name has been damaged.”

Oh waah!

“He is at an advanced moment in his life and been removed from his family.”

On a soft, six-and-a-half-year sentence imposed by a federal judge. All appeals denied.

“He has lost his economic security.”

He doled out taxpayer money to his cronies in a series of dirty deals.

“The question is whether continued imprisonment is appropriate at this point.”

The question, Senator Durbin, is why you aren’t giving your personal consideration to those among the thousands of Illinois prisoners who aren’t actually guilty, or who deserve a measure of this nation’s compassion. Or even those who are guilty but are remorseful for what they’ve done – which Ryan still isn’t.

This is a neat game you are playing, senator. You can hardly decide against asking Bush to set Ryan free now, can you? But even if you decide against it, you have signaled to the president that you’ll give him cover. The U.S. Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat thinks it’s okay.

“A pardon or commutation for George Ryan would send a message to Illinois taxpayers and public servants that the consequences for public corruption in Illinois are less severe and would further fuel cynicism of our important institutions,” three former federal prosecutors who tried Ryan said in a statement.

I mean, why not just let Robert Sorich go too? Just let ’em all go.

I mean, what was all that for? The trial delays and the Winston & Strawn pro bono baloney and the juror problems and the judge’s hard work and the appeals and the verdict and the sentencing? Was it all theater?

And more importantly, why should a public official get more consideration than a private person? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

“His trial revealed he presided over systemic corruption to further his career and line the pockets of pals who, in turn, helped bankroll his lifestyle,” the Sun-Times editorialized today.

“After his trial and conviction, Ryan had a chance before the judge sentenced him to apologize to the Willis family or to taxpayers for his crime. He did not.”

Frankly, I find it sickening to see the George and Lura Lynn on the cover of the Sun-Times today decorating a Christmas tree, and there again taking up nearly the whole of page 2 dancing, and Lura Lynn whining that “It’s such a waste for him to be sitting down there” even as she’s saying “His conscience is as clear as his mind.”

Really? His conscience is clear? Then no commutation for you!

“All he wanted to do was help people,” Lura Lynn says.

Yes. He wanted to help his friends gain riches and power so they would keep him propped up.

“She said one letter she wrote was put in the president’s hand ‘by a close friend,’ whom she would not name.” (Jim Thompson? Dan Webb?)

Classic Ryan. How many other prisoners have the opportunity to have a friend put a letter into the president’s hand? Why should he get special consideration?

Lura Lynn knows how to play the angles. There she is telling Sneed how much she misses good ol’ George’s vegetable soup. Please.

“By taking steps to undermine the verdict of the jury that convicted Ryan and the very reasonable 6½-year sentence handed down by a federal judge, then you will only revive the cynicism of all those who always believed the system would protect Ryan,” Mark Brown writes.

Especially in appealing to an outgoing Republican president who has very little to lose. You wouldn’t want to burden Barack Obama – who could also release Ryan at a moment’s notice – with this request, would you?

“By singling out the Ryans for your concern, you are adding to the perception that the political class protects itself first and foremost,” Brown writes. “Dick Durbin seems to be confused. That’s the nicest way I can think to say it.”

I’m not feeling so nice. Dick Durbin knows exactly what he is doing. Confused isn’t the word for it.

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4 responses to “Dick’s Folly

  1. Right — Dick Durbin just lost my respect

  2. I first met George Ryan, in 1975 when I was a baby teacher/coach at Bishop McNamara in Kankakee – a Chicago 18th Ward Democrat in Republican Land. In Fact Mimi Shapiro asked me to run for City Clerk as a Democrat – I figured what the hell -good way to learn the town. George’s brother Tom was the Mayor. The GOP slated Gene Glenzinski for City Clerk and the Dad of one my wrestlers and a better man never pulled on socks.

    The Race was a blast and we had frequent ‘debates’ and run-ins with the Machine. George Ryan was a lovely guy. One day while walking to work, up Brookmont from my apartment in White City near Washington Park. I saw guys replacing Democratic signs that had been knocked down. I asked one of the guys ‘What gives?’ He said, ‘ George said to get them back up. You guys are gonna get waxed anyway.’ Laughed my butt off.

    The Democratic slate was slaughtered, in fact I got the most votes -novelty votes for the kid, I imagine.

    I never once voted for George Ryan.

    I have met George Ryan at many wakes and weddings, in Kankakee and Joliet. He is a very nice man. I’d buy the man a steak any day, at Ken’s in my neighborhood, or Krapil’s, or Franconello’s or some such homey place reminiscent of Kings Court and Town and Country in Kankakee, if he’d allow me. George Ryan did not seem to match Gibson’s or Tavern on Rush or the other news-ghoul & hustler eateries. These other fore mentioned places are where George Ryan’s people eat.

    The type of people who go to Ken’s and other neighborhood dining spots are the people George Ryan connected to – not political allies, hangers-on or opportunists, but people like Ryan himself. I witnessed quite a few of George Ryan’s many acts of kindness to people who could never do any political boon for anyone – let alone George Ryan – too numerous to catalog. He treated Joe Blow from the docks at Tenney Sales on 5th Ave. in Kankakee like he was a Sam Zell with an ink wet contribution check.

    Conversely, I have followed the words of many familiar voices in print that have universally called for a mighty punishment on George Ryan – most of the people writing those words seem like people that I can do without. John Kass and Tom Roeser are the only two valid voices of anti-Ryan sentiment in my opinion – there aree others to be sure, mostly regular folks and I respect their feelings.

    However, there are many more, mostly media creatures. who are stone hypocrites -DuPage GOP ‘almost weres and fatuous Polka Parteners like Judy Topinka who could not get snug enough in George’s back pockets when he was flush with clout and now stomp on his crippled limbs.

    It seemed to me that Ryan’s Judge and Federal Prosecutors were going to get George Ryan come Hell, Highwater, or the lady with the blindfold. and they did – the voices in print ( paper and electronic) – sock-puppets or anonymous back-shooters for the most part – howl in genuine agony that George Ryan has the same rights as other citizens. ‘The quicker he is in jail the happier I’ll be’ read one such post, or ‘Ryan can rot in Hell’. Must be a lovely people . . . to avoid.

  3. bye dick. it’s been fun respecting you. i enjoyed talking to you about genocide in the sudan, and other smart ideas you had. and then you got stupid. or corrupt. so much for representing the People. seems you’re all about the Powers.

    Durbin to Bush: Commute Ryan sentence
    December 1, 2008 at 3:28 PM | Comments (14)
    Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said today he is sending a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to commute the federal corruption sentence of former Republican Gov. George Ryan to time served in prison.
    In a letter to Bush, Durbin noted the 74-year-old Ryan “has lost his state pension benefits and a commutation will not restore them. He would emerge from prison facing economic uncertainty at an advanced stage of his life.

  4. Unindicted Co-conspirator

    I wonder what kind of dirt Jim Thompson or Dan Webb have on Durbin to get him to debase himself like this?
    As both were US Attorney here, they would have access to a lot of info that never gets public.
    Durbin has rarely been politically tone deaf, so there must be something really creepy behind this.

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