Rod Blagojevich’s last hours as a free man

Rod Blagojevich’s last hours as a free man

I actually feel sorry for Rod Blagojevich. On March 15th, he reports to prison for 14 years.

I know. I know. Call me crazy. But I have pity for the former governor.

I feel bad for Blago’s family. He has to leave his wife and children for being an Illinois politician.

Trust me, in no way am I advocating for the things Blago did. He broke the law and every Illinois politician that breaks the law should be subject to Pat Fitzgerald’s reach.

But my softened feelings for the former governor show that his media blitz following his arrest was nothing short of absurd, shortsighted and ill conceived. Blagojevich went on every New York based national show, while WLS-AM gave him his own show so he could blast away at prosecutors vowing that when he had the opportunity to tell his story he would be vindicated.

For a good six months, it seemed like the airwaves– both television and radio– was Blago’s personal reality show. We couldn’t get away from him as his voice, arguments and hair sullied our state. Blago did not find a microphone he didn’t like; he was Eric B. & Rakim’s "Microphone Fiend" (except he wasn’t music orientated– but I digress). And most, if not all of us, were hoping he would be found guilty and get 14 years so we would not have to hear from him until 2026.

Now that he has left all the microphones– or the microphones left him– I feel bad for him. And it shows his media blitz was exactly the wrong approach. I wonder if it would have been different for him, if after his arrest he simply said he looks forward for the chance to be vindicated in a court of law as he is innocent of all charges and left it at that. Then his wife, through tears, could go on Oprah to discuss the effect his arrest and removal from office had on his family. Had he played the sympathy card, would the public have wanted him to go away as bad as we did?

I’m playing could have/should have and it doesn’t matter. Blagojevich abused his power and now he has to spend 14 years away form his family to pay for it.

Fourteen years is a long time. Fourteen years ago was 1998. Think about how much time has passed since March 1998:

We didn’t know (or didn’t care) about steroids in baseball and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire had their then historic race for the single season home run record.

Michael Jordan was still a Chicago Bull– and the Bulls had only won five championships.

Walter Payton was still alive and the Chicago Bears were only 12 years removed from their Super Bowl Championship.

The Cubs were only 90 years removed from a World Series win.

Bill Clinton was president of the United States. We just learned Monica Lewinsky existed.

We were not familiar with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda; September 11th didn’t happen for another three and a half years.

The internet didn’t exist in the way it does today. Google was just starting up but the public didn’t know about it. Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was in junior high.

Star Wars Episodes I, II and III had yet to be released.

Personally, I was a 25 year old law student. In 14 years, I have matured into a lawyer, husband and father of two. It’s frightening to think of how much my life has changed in 14 years.

And maybe that’s why I pity Blago. Not only has the world significantly changed, but our lives have changed with it. His life will stop for fourteen years when he reports to prison, while the lives of the ones he loves will continue without him.

Filed under: Illinois Politics


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  • You've obviously been drinking the Blagojevich Koolaide. And haven't been touched by the great damage he's done to Illinois. His 14 years is not long enough!

  • In reply to Butler:

    You are probably right. It's difficult to disagree with you on the Kool Aid comment. Trust me, I'm conflicted!

  • He's the sacrificial lamb of political corruption in general. Mercy should have seasoned justice.

  • 1. He's having a press conference tomorrow before going to the clink. So, he hasn't been silenced yet, and I doubt that the substance of the press conference will be that he acknowledges he did wrong and will take his medicine like a man.

    2. The spectacle has been orchestrated by Glenn Selig, who is also Drew's publicist. At least the Tribune article announcing tomorrow's press conference mentioned Selig.

    3. If Blago hadn't wormed his way in with Vrdolyak and Mell, he would have been trying to do so with the mob. Does anyone think that he would have spent 40 years as an assistant state's attorney in domestic violence or traffic court?

  • This is extremely sad and I hope those that follow him in all political offices will THINK before they do something stupid too. If most of us just took a night to really think....most stupidity would not take place. So much for living in the "now"....

  • In reply to MChicago:

    Like Beavers, or, as reported in the Tribune today, State Rep. Derrick Smith, who allegedly sold his favors for $7,000, but, unlike Blago, apparently got that money.

  • The only ones I feel sorry for are his daughters. Blago and his wife put their greed and egos ahead of the needs of their children, which I find unforgivable. And I have no doubt that we'll hear of Rod even while he's in prison, as well as see a reality show of Patty and the girls living without him and visiting him etc. Those leopards will never change their spots.

  • Blago and Mrs. Blago thought they were above the rules and they have found out that they are not. Blago played with peoples' lives at HIS whim with no regard to their futures or feelings. He squandered the state of Illinois' money with no regard for his own travel convenience when Mrs Blago refused to move to Springfield. So....Que Sera Sera...
    Blago said he was going to go to prison with dignity, then he said he was going to give a press conference. Any time he opens his mouth, there is no dignity. He is getting what he deserves, just not enough of it! Good riddance, Blago!

  • Of all the talk shows Blago blitzed through, Chicago's own Bonnie Hunt was the only one who showed him up for what he was by doing the job so-called "journalists" _should_ have been doing. Bravo, Bonnie!

  • Blago was and maybe is just plain dumb and sometimes dumb people get bad consequences from doing dumb things. It is a kind of social natural selection. Luck plays a part too. Feel bad for the innocents caught up in his bad judgement. Please read Shelley's Short poem about the fall of the mighty, Ozymandias. Humans just do not seem to learn. Good luck to him and to his family. The people of Illinois should never have elected him in the first place.

  • Blago you should have kept your mouth just opened it and proved you don't do anything with dignity....or brains!

  • Blago treated todays press conference like a carnival side show. He still doesn't get it.......he's trying to sell the fact that he's innocent when even now, it doesn't count. By going public to all the media, talk shows and interviews, he just dragged Illinois dirty laundry through the national and international press. Perhaps the next 14 years of his silence will allow Illinoisans to live down the embarrassment.

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