Friday, July 2, 2010



Readers of the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, and doubtless of other papers throughout the world, were treated this morning to tales of the sartorial excesses of ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti “Lady Macbeth” Blagojevich. The case the prosecutors are trying to make, apparently, is that it was the financial imbecility of the Blagojeviches that led Mr. Blagojevich to try to use the powers of his office to extort money from various people in the political and politically connected business worlds. Several points are worth making here:

--First, oh where have you heard this argument before? Loyal readers will quickly answer “Of course…the Insightful Pontificator, in the 6/9/10 post I OWE, I OWE SO OFF TO EXTORT I GO.” And such readers would, as usual, be absolutely right.

--Second, the RodMan is quoted as saying that he was “screwing” his family financially by remaining governor because the heat that his office, or, more properly, his prostitution of it, was bringing on his family forced Lady Macbeth out of her “real estate” business. Some observers, noting that, at least according to prosecutors, Patti did very little real estate work and acted as little more than a conduit (Considerate choice of words on my part, don’t you think?) for payoffs to the governor, will chortle at the very notion that Patti would be out there raking in the big bucks if it weren’t for her husband’s being governor. But Blago may have a point here. Even if Rod were not governor, even if he were still a state rep or a Congressman, his wife could still act as a conduit for the sale of influence. And also bear in mind that she would still be Dick Mell’s daughter, and we all know how things work around this town. See my 6/24/10 post I DIDN’T SAY YOU SCRATCH HIS BACK AND I’LL SCRATCH YOURS and my 6/12/09 post “WE DON’T WANT NOBODY NOBODY SENT.” So Patti would have had a lucrative “real estate” career if her husband were not popinjay-in-chief and his wholesale auctioning of his office may indeed have impeded Lady Macbeth’s “earning” power.

--Third, even if Patti could have been pursuing a lucrative career trading on her political contacts, that still would not have saved the Blagojevich family from its financial plight. As I have said on numerous occasions, most recently in the aforementioned 6/9/10 post, it is not a lack of income that drives people into financial ruin but, rather, spending out of proportion to their income. This was certainly the case with the Blagojeviches. Further, I suspect that even if Patti were making millions, these two nincompoops could have managed to find some way to excrete it all away and then moan about how they are unable to send their kids to college while simultaneously talk about how they relate to the “working person” because, in his distant past, Rod experienced something approximating poverty.

--Fourth, the RodMan spent $205,707 on suits (and perhaps a few jackets and overcoats) at Oxxford over a six year period, spending as much as $5,000 on a single suit on more than one occasion.

Where does one begin here? What kind of moron spends $5,000 on a suit, even on what the Tribune calls a “fine” suit? What exactly makes such a suit “fine,” or 20 times “finer” than a $250 suit? Who, from a distance of more than six inches, can tell a $5,000 suit from a $250 suit? As readers may have picked up, I’ve never had much respect for the RodMan, but now, if this is possible, I have even less. Perhaps he and Patti thought they were impressing people by spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need and that are not worth nearly what they paid for them. Given the typical American’s attitude toward spending, perhaps the Blagojeviches were right; simple-minded people are impressed by big spending. But any objective observer could only conclude that Rod and Patti are a couple of imbeciles whose foppishness has overwhelmed what tiny ossified remnants of brains that remain ensconced under their expensive, and overrated, coiffures.

And one more note…in the first chapter of my now seminal novel, The Chairman, A Novel of Big City Politics, I try to highlight the ostentatious displays of wealth by New York developer Jack Smith by pointing out that he wore a $3,000 suit into his meeting with Chairman Collins in the non-descript headquarters of the 15th Ward Regular Democratic Organization. Apparently, I was making Mr. Smith a piker, at least relative to our financially strapped ex-governor! I could chalk such an oversight up to the ignorance of a guy who thinks a trip to Joe Banks is a shameless extravagance…or to The Chairman’s taking place in 1988. Making the appropriate adjustments for inflation, $3,000 for Jack Smith in 1988 is about on a par with the RodMan’s spending $5,000 twenty years later. But Jack Smith could actually afford such a silly extravagance.


Anonymous said...

As bad as Rod is, she is worse, reminds me of the old joke, "His brother was worse." That being said, if being an egotistical idiot was a crime punishable by imprisonment, well you get the gist... But I still don't see Rod actually taking any cash. Horible job by Fitzgerald, he had the fish one the line and never reeled him in.

The Pontificator said...


I have to agree, probably on the relative merits on Patti and Rod and close to definitely on the merits of the case. It seems like Rod bluffed and blustered about holding out on people unless they ponied up but, ultimately, in just about every case, the target of the alleged extortion got what s/he wanted even though no cash changed hands.

As a friend of mine put it, if the charge were general and egregious mopery, Rod would have been put away a long time ago, but mopery is no longer a crime.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

The Pontificator said...


I feel compelled to clarify a few things on the last comment. The first is inconsequential; it should have been dated 7/3/10. The second is nearly perfunctory; AS OF NOW, I don’t see enough to put Rod away. Things could, of course, change as the trial progresses.

Again, thanks for reading and commenting.