One of Blago's driving frustrations was his desire to "make money" beyond his $177,000 governor's salary. Now, the guy is clearly sleazy. And $177,000 is a lot of money for most people. But it's not that much--especially if you're a semi-famous person with vast amounts of power over a multibillion dollar budget who routinely deals/duels with wealthy businessmen and lobbyists who drive away from State House meetings in their luxury sedans. (Wealth envy also seems to have been the downfall of several corrupted congressional Republicans, from Duke Cunningham to Tom DeLay.) The lesson I draw is that we should at least consider paying our public officials more money. 

The best counterargument would be that you can never, within the limits of political reality, pay them the kind of money that would make them feel "rich" and thus the pattern won't be broken. But at a minimum it's worth debating. You might also just generally attract a higher caliber of public servant than the dopes who tend to run things these days. 

--Michael Crowley