Rod Blagojevich goes in for sentencing today. He's expected to receive 10 years for doing something that would have been his duty before the 17th Amendment, to select a Senator based on the best political deal he could manage. Something that was expected in 1915 will probably result in Rod going to Federal prison in Terre Haute for the next decade. Democracy may not be perfect, but we're working on it.
The sad story of Rod is that in a town where graft, corruption, and payoffs are actually expected (dude, my garbage was picked up in the middle of a sanitation workers strike in Chicago. Hizzah for the political machine that made that deal!), and he knew that he could get away with it... but had no idea how to actually do it. Instead of trying to do some little things here and there for the good of the constituents, like get a sanitation workers union to come and pick up the garbage in one ward in exchange for supporting the union's strike city-wide, he really just tried to pad his own wallet and didn't have the good sense to hide it. He was quite dumb as to how this all worked. Meanwhile, he's married to the daughter of a seasoned politician, who obviously expected some kickbacks, but also wasn't fully aware of the masaging that needed to be done.
When it snows in Chicago, people don't care how the roads get cleared, just whether they are cleared or not. People are willing to accept a little give-and-take if the services expected get delivered. It might be more expensive than it needs to be done, but if that's the cost, then at least things get done. People aren't too upset if a contract goes to a congressman's nephew - we assume the congressman is going to kick the nephew's ass if he doesn't deliver. However, shopping a Senate seat to the highest bidder? How can you even pretend to sell that one to the voters?