Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blago's Public Self-Immolation Tour

In one day of media blitzkrieg, Rod Blagojevich may had done more damage to his reputation than did his arrest on December 9, 2008. Yesterday's tour of the national television interview circuit seems to have piled up even more damage, in fact, than everything he's done or said since his arrest on December 9, 2008 combined. Blago claims he was trying to warn the American people of a great injustice that might endanger everyone's right to a fair trial. Let's be honest here. Blago was not trying to warn anybody about anything, and he was not interested in speaking to all of the American people. There were only 12 people in the entire nation that Rod Blagojevich was hoping to reach yesterday, and they are the 12 who will eventually sit in the jury of his federal criminal trial. If I am correct in that assumption, Blago's lies and foolish behavior may have poisoned his potential jury pool moreso than anything said so far by Patrick Fitzgerald. FEATURED FREAK Blago was the featured freak in yesterday’s media circus, but seemed oblivious to the fact that the ring masters were poking him with a stick, urging him to make another bizarre move, then laughing with the crowd gathered under the big tent. His obvious lies and self contradictions did not help him, either. BLAGO THEATER My favorite Blago moment of yesterday came when Ring Master Larry King interviewed. Earlier in the day, Blago appeared on "Good Morning America." Then he yukked it up with the gals on "The View," who were less than sympathetic but smartly mixed some good questions with intermittent doses of humor. Barbara Walters nearly busted out laughing at one point, as Blago did the typical politician's dance-around-the-question routine. Considering that Blago is surely about to be removed from his job as governor, however, it was all like joking with a man who has a date with a metaphorical firing squad. Sort of funny in a squeamish way, kind of tragic and great theater. Shakespeare could have written this play, and I'll predict here and now that the drama of Rod Blagojevich will be a hugely successful stage play before the end of 2010. LYING TO LARRY KING The Larry King appearance was the best one, I felt. King was low key but insistent, repeating questions that Blago refused to answer. Barbara Walters did that too, but she understandably was having a bit too much fun it all and it showed. King, on the other hand, appeared less sadistic as he repeatedly asked Blago if he “said those things” on the federal wire tap tapes that we’ve heard described so much: “Bleeping golden,” “parachute,” and so on, in reference to Blago’s phone conversations to allegedly try to sell Obama’s former Senate seat. Blago consistently said throughout the day, including on King’s show, that he could not comment on the tapes because he has not heard them. King, incredulous but sedate, pushed him. Blago lied and contradicted himself. Surely, King said, someone would remember having said such things. He told Larry King - and millions of viewers - that he cannot comment on those tapped phone recordings because he hasn’t “had the opportunity to hear” them. He was saying, in other words, that because he has not heard the tapes, he does not know what’s on them even though he’s the one speaking on the tapes, and as King said, they must have been memorable conversations. Then, suddenly, Blago tripped all over himself. Just after saying he couldn’t comment on taped conversations that he could not recall and has not heard, he said he is confident that if the American people could hear “the entire tapes” he would be exonerated. Really? How is it that Rod Blagojevich could be so certain that he would be exonerated by the very tapes that he insists he himself has not heard? If he hasn’t heard them, and if cannot recall what was said on them, how could he know that they would exonerate him. To say the tapes would show him to be innocent of illegal activity is to say that he knows what was said on the tapes, which further implies that he recalls at least some of the conversations captured on those tapes. The only conclusion I can come to on this is that he either lied about not knowing what is on the tapes, or he lied about knowing that the tapes - if played in full - would exonerate him. Perhaps he lied on both counts, but he told another interesting lie to Larry King. THE BURRIS DECISION Blago told King that he had pretty much made a decision the night before his December 9 arrest as to who he would name to fill Obama’s vacated US Senate seat. Burris was not named by Blagojevich until December 30. If, as he told Larry King, he had already decided on the night of December 8, why would he have waited three weeks to publicly announce Burris as the choice? Granted, Blago spent a day in detention being fingerprinted and processed by federal authorities. Granted, he huddled with attorneys in the days immediately following his arrest. But Blago also creeped us all out by quickly going back to work, and if he had truly chosen Burris by the time he went to bed on December 8, why couldn’t he have had a quick press conference to announce his choice of Burris within the three weeks after his arrest? While Blago was making his tour of New York television studios, the Illinois State Senate got together at noon on the same day. Blago didn't bother to show up that day. Instead, he was in New York cabbing it from studio to studio, hoping for a sympathetic interview that would allow him to convince Americans from coast to coast that his trouble in Illinois are all just a Vast Democrat Conspiracy to oust him. Why? Because, he said on all of the talk shows, he was the only guy standing between the State Legislature and higher taxes for the people of Illinois. Yup, and I almost believed that he believes that. The self-immolation of Rod Blagojevich on national television took schadenfreude to new heights for millions of viewers, and my favorite moments of Blago's Public Self-Immolation Tour were during his appearance on Larry King Live. Perhaps Blago really believed that appearing on major television shows and dancing around his hosts' questions would engender some kind of sudden sympathy. Perhaps he was advised to do this by his newly hired public relations firm. They're the same firm that put alleged wife-killer Drew Peterson on the talk show circuit. Can you argue with success, though? May Blago's new PR firm has him on the right track. After all, Drew Peterson is still a free man. RELATED: Rod Blagojevich, Drew Peterson just trying to play us for fools `The View' from Illinois: No, Blago, this is not bigger than you. To Gov. Rod Blagojevich: Americans have their own problems... Who's who in the Blagojevich impeachment saga CNB RSS Feed