Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blago: "Vengeful and profane"

Before he was arrested yesterday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Democrat) was well liked by something around 13 percent of Illinois voters. That's less than half the ratings for Pres. Bush, but still much higher than the ratings of Congress as a whole. The sad, weird, tragic yet sadistically funny events of Blago Tuesday have probably since lowered his favorability ratings to somewhere in the single digits. There are always die-hard supporters; even serial get offers of marriage while they're behind bars, and people still buy Michael Jackson albums. Even Michael Jackson, however, was never caught on tape calling colleagues motherf#@%ers, as Blagojevich was. Hearing Blago use nasty language was apparently shocking to many, perhaps especially to those not old enough to remember the raw Nixon Tapes, which were aired on network television uncensored. Nixon could swear like a sailor, but he pales in comparison to Blago the Foul. Yes, Blago was once the Golden Boy of the Illinois Democrats. But, as Susan Saulny explains in the International Herald Tribune, "Tuesday changed all that." Indeed. It was not simply the extortion and venality with which he was charged that left mouths gaping, but the ruthlessness and grandiosity revealed in the federal wiretap transcripts, even as he knew he was being investigated...Whatever his current motivation, he came into office with a very different persona. As a young congressman representing the North Side of Chicago, Blagojevich was pegged as a rising star with a populist touch. Undistinguished as a lawmaker but with proven likability in and out of Chicago, he seemed hellbent on pushing reform and cleaning house in a state with an embarrassingly overt culture of political corruption. Full Article... Hmmm. He was a "rising star with a populist touch," eh? Isn't every Democrat billed as having a "populist touch" these days? Hmmm. "Undistinguished as a lawmaker," she says? Remember, she's talking about Blagojevich, not Barackobamavich, who was also a "rising star" with a "populist touch" who was/is, nevertheless, "undistinguished as a lawmaker." Let us not get off point, however. Saulny's article is poignant and important. It's about politicians who present a kind face while running for office, but take their masks off, sooner or later, after they get into office. It all brings to mind an old Who song. You remember the lyrics, perhaps: "I get on my knees and pray we don't get fooled again....Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."