Wednesday, July 28, 2010



Will former Governor Rod Blagojevich be convicted or will he walk? God only knows and we can only speculate, and such speculation would take the arms of an octopus or perhaps a centipede, if we consider limbs interchangeable. On one hand, it doesn’t look like we saw the RodMan actually accepting any money or other consideration in exchange for political favors. On another, it sure looked like Patti’s job was to be, to use a nicer term than “bag lady,” a conduit for such payments. But the jurors might legitimately ask themselves why Patti was not on trial if it was she who did something wrong here, so perhaps she did nothing wrong and therefore was not in fact acting as a conduit and thus no money made its way to Rod. On another hand, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner pointed out, “You don’t have to be a successful criminal to be a criminal,” and, as even Blago’s defense lawyer points out, Rod has not been much of a raging success at anything, excluding buffoonery. On yet another hand, regardless of the facts and the law, a jury is a very unpredictable body, and who knows what might go into its members’ deliberations? The defendant’s effectively telling them, and the rest of the people of Illinois, to perform a physically impossible sex act (See below.) probably did not endear himself to the jurors, and the resentment he engendered may be returned in dispensing with logic and, instead, merely out of justifiable spite, sending the RodMan to a place where he could be assisted in such an act.

So all the speculation we hear on the probability of Rod’s walking is fun but unproductive. However, three are three points I would like to make:

First, if Rod does walk, he is going to be, if such a thing is possible, even more insufferable than he is now. He will be ubiquitous in the media, for at least awhile, appearing in every quarter from here to Timbuktu endlessly and piously proclaiming his innocence and his innate greatness, virtue, and humility. He will surely contemplate running for office again, perhaps in league with the likes of Scott Lee Cohen. For this reason alone, one hopes that somehow the jury will find it in their collective heart to put this man away, or at least far from a microphone.

Second, as I pointed out in my 6/23/10 post “I’M LOOKIN’ AT THE MAN IN THE MIRROR…”, Rod had no business being governor simply because he was incompetent at his job and didn’t even like his job. As I said in that already seminal work:

To Rod or to any of our public servants who differ from that nefarious narcissist only in degree, the particular office is unimportant and fulfilling its duties and serving those who put one in that office are completely inconsequential. An office is only a stepping stone on the ladder of self-gratification that characterizes the modern politician’s life. He, or she, is not there to do a job; he or she is on a mission, a mission to impose his ego on all of us, to get our attention, to convince himself that he is somehow a great man, or at least that his existence is somehow worthwhile.”

This is a shame, and it strikes a personal note for me. When I was very young (in high school and into the first few years of college), I thought that I, too, would like to run for high office and for very similar reasons that Blago, and most professional politicians, like to run for public office: to feed my ego. I thought that running for office would be fun and gratifying. That I had very little innate interest in the particular office for which I would run didn’t matter; it was an exercise in ego-stoking. But most of us get over that, or at least I did. In fact, in my case, my attitude toward holding public office has been turned on its head. While I would very much like to hold high office, even the seemingly hopeless office of governor of Illinois, I would find running for it very distasteful, a never ending process of asking people for money, assuring voters of their undying virtue and victimhood while repeatedly assuring them that any of their problems are someone else’s fault, and engaging in the tomfoolery and glad-handing that comprises the modern political campaign. That distaste for the process, of course, insures that I will never hold high office. But my point is that most of us get over the need for endless reassurance of our self-worth and get down to serious business. But your typical politician, who is only a half brick removed from the madness that most starkly characterizes Rod Blagojevich, never grows up and therefore must run for office in order to reassure himself that he is indeed as wonderful as he, deep down somewhere in his muddled psyche, knows he is not. These are the types of people we elect to office, repeatedly, and then complain about the consequences when they become the caricatures best exemplified by Rod Blagojevich.

Finally, what I find really appalling about the RodMan, in addition to his apparently hating his job, being completely incompetent at it, and yet refusing to step aside in the interests of our state, is the following statement, and not so much for the language he uses (as revolting, immature, and evidentiary of a limited vocabulary and inability to articulate as it is) but, rather, for the attitude it represents:

I (expletive) busted my ass and (expletive) people off and gave your grandmother a free (expletive) ride on a bus. OK? I gave your (expletive) baby a chance to have health care. I fought every one of those (expletive), including every special interest out there, who can make my life easier and better, because they wanna raise taxes on you and I won’t. I, I fight them and keep them from doing it.
“And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you

Nice...really nice. And it’s not necessarily the “F… all of you” attitude that so bothers me; what do I care if a poltroon like Blago wants me to f… myself? His opinion on anything is of little interest to me. What bothers me is the deeply held belief, characteristic of just about politician, that it is he, Rod Blagojevich in this case, who “gives your grandmother a free f…ing ride on a bus” or “your f---ing baby a chance to have health care.”
Politicians do not give us bus rides, health care, jobs, or anything else. It is the taxpayers, or, in the case of the state of Illinois, our apparently gullible creditors, who provide such things. It is the people who actually produce something, rather than preen for the cameras, who provide the standard of living, and even ultimately the public services, for which our political class takes the credit.
So, even if Rod Blagojevich is ultimately exonerated in court of the crimes of which he is accused, he is without a doubt guilty of the hubristic attitude endemic to the modern politician. That the degree to which he displays, and doubtless holds deeply, such an attitude is vastly disproportionate to his innate ability, judgment, or intelligence is relatively inconsequential. Just about every politician has plenty of Rod Blagojevich in him or her.

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