Monday, January 26, 2009

"Come to Illinois. Chock full o' crazy."

That's a line from a column written by Rex W. Huppke in the Chicago Tribune today. And right now, I have to say Huppke isn't far from the truth. Huppke's column discussed Rod Blagojevich's hiring of Drew Peterson's public relations firm. People may remember that Peterson is the former suburban police sergeant accused of murdering his third wife, whose death was ruled accidental in 2004, and his fourth wife, who has been missing since October 2007.

And I suppose the PR firm's first order of business was to send Blago on a media tour to proclaim his innocence, similar to what Peterson did after he had been accused. Except it didn't work in Peterson's case, and it sure isn't working in Blago's. However, Peterson wasn't on trial at that time and refusing to show up for his defense, claiming that the whole proceeding was unfair. Blago has chosen to appear on The Today Show, The View, Good Morning America and Larry King Live rather than at his own impeachment trial before the Illinois Senate, which began today. Blago went on about how the rules for the trial were unfair because he can't call witnesses, which is false. He said the politicians were trying to punish him for keeping taxes down, creating jobs, extending healthcare benefits and providing free rides to seniors. All completely ridiculous. Blago seems to have forgotten he was CAUGHT ON TAPE. Although, he did address that issue in his interviews, so I guess he hasn't completely forgotten. Blago's defense was that the statements were taken out of context. Somehow I find it very hard to believe that putting those statements in context would make one bit of difference. What else exactly did you say in those phone conversations, Governor, that would make us believe you weren't trying to sell the vacant U.S Senate seat? Was the phrase "just kidding" in there somewhere?

Blago doesn't realize that it is not the rest of the nation whose sympathy he must win. People in California or New York or Florida don't have any interest in what is happening Illinois. The only thing Blago is providing the nation with is a good laugh. No one feels sorry for him. No one feels the impeachment trial is unfair, except for Blago himself. Most comments I've read on articles or blog posts are calling for Blago's swift removal from office. What Blago needed to do was show up at that "unfair" trial in the Illinois Senate and attempt to defend himself. Use whatever witnesses and previous testimony and/or statements he was allowed. Do whatever he had to do to make the voters of Illinois, those he is so proud of stating twice elected him as governor, believe they didn't make the wrong choice. I still think it would be a lose-lose situation for Blago, no matter what he did, because again, he was caught on tape. But at least I'd have a bit more respect for the man, as much respect as you can have for a corrupt politician. This media tour of his was the last straw. If you'd like to see his appearance on Good Morning America, it follows (in two parts). Quite funny, if it wasn't so sad from an Illinois resident's perspective.

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