Well, it turns out that selling senate seats is frowned upon even in a state where politics are controlled primarily by the mafia. Frankly, though, with the media interest, comical characters, and obvious guilt of the governor, the state legislature was left with little choice. They didn't want to blow their own covers, after all.
The Blago fiasco has been one of my guilty pleasures of the past few months. I realize that the entertainment value in political intrigue appeals strictly to my appetitive nature, but it's something that I'm willing to admit. Nothing has entertained me more, aside from Blago's man-bouffant, than his sodden T.V.-circuit defense. Instead of, say, hiring a successful lawyer or paying attention to the proceedings, he went on Larry King Live to explain to the peasants how messy politics are and to proclaim his innocence. He diversified his audience by hitting up Oprah and The View, which probably made housewives more, not less indignant. His publicity blitz, at least to me, seemed antithetical to what he should have been doing if he actually thought he stood a chance.
The reality was that he never did. He knew that he was guilty. The only thing that I can surmise from his ill-informed attempt at self-preservation was that he thought that his crime wasn't a huge deal and that the best way to save himself was to muddy the waters a bit. What muddies more that a media circus? Blago is, at heart, a personality. He was hoping to capitalize on this by putting his face on every channel. Unfortunately, the first anyone ever heard from him was his muffled voice on FBI tape saying “I've got this thing and it’s f—ing golden, and I'm just not giving it up for f—ing nothing. I'm not gonna do it.” This sort of thing naturally predisposes most people to hate. His smarmy, self-obsessed persona also didn't help his public-relations campaign garner him any sympathy. His attempts to confuse the issue of what his actual crime was fell flat, as well. He seems to have failed to realize that the American public could actually go and listen to the FBI tapes via the internet. There was really no way he could cloud that—it was crystal clear.
I tend to think that Blagojevich knew he was on the outs. I'm going to give him that much credit. So why try to muddy the waters? Why not just resign and save what little dignity remains. Why draw it out into an absurd comedy that makes you look more and more like a complete slime-ball? That's the million dollar question. My judgment: book deals. I think that Blago was trying to cast just enough of a shadow of a doubt on his own guilt that he can come out of this looking a little bit sympathetic. Then he can claim to have been wronged and, after he gets out of jail, write a nice book about it a make a couple of million dollars. But who knows, really? Maybe he was just that stupid.
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