Oh, my bleepin’ lord! I’ve spent decades honing my critical thinking skills, understanding how to ferret out the truth, developing a capacity to see beyond the obvious, and learning how to annoy the crap out of absolutely everyone and it all ends here?
And I’m thinkin’ that because I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump’s decision to parole former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. All I can say is, “Oh! The ignominy!”
Alright, alright! Considering I’ve similarly expounded on this subject many times before, perhaps I am being a wee bit melodramatic. But even though this is a case of the President actually agreeing with me, as that great philosopher Alanis Morrissette once intoned, it’s “a jagged little pill.”
Now, before we proceed, let me clearly stipulate that Rod Blagojevich is nothing more than an empty suit. He’s a political clown who, if it weren’t for marrying into a prominent Chicago Machine family, would be managing the Milwaukee and Sawyer McDonald’s. Though I’m sure it’ll never happen, my fondest wish is that he’d thank his beyond lucky stars and pull a quick D. B. Cooper on us.
But as I’ve said all along, the only “crime” Blago truly committed was to have the audacity (or stupidity) to think out loud. Apparently, his infamous father-in-law never explained that, while the vacant U.S. Senate seat was f*****g golden, so is silence!
C’mon! There is no politician on the planet who would’ve let that prize go without a massive quid pro quo involving a wad of campaign cash and a player to be named later. But just like it is with eBay, they woulda been smart enough to let the bidders come to them. It’s not the kinda thing one needs to solicit.
Had Blago accepted a personal cash offering, I’d be the first one to say he should rot in jail.
“But Jeff! He tried to shake down a children’s hospital for a campaign contribution!” Oh, please! That kind of thing happens all the time and there’s no force in the universe is powerful enough to stop it. And nobody did it better than the Mayor Daley the elder, God rest his “poet lariat” soul!
When he reigned supreme over the Second City, Hizzoner, a true patron of the arts, once asked the fine folks at the Art Institute if they would allow him to host a political event in one of their more spacious event rooms. But when they politely explained that, particularly as a non-profit, it would be deleterious for them to do that for anyone, Da Mayor was not amused!
The not-so-subtle evidence of his dire disappointment came in the form of a swarm City code enforcers who hit that fabled institution with $250,000 in violations. Lest you think that’s some sort of chump change, in today’s dollars, that fine would come out to a cool 1.9 million.
And all Blago wanted out of Lurie Children’s Hospital was a piddly 50 grand. Give me a break What a freakin’ piker!
Our own former Kane County Chairman and Illinois State Senator Karen McConnaughay was renowned for this kind of bleep. Not only did she perfect the art of pay-to-play, she wouldn’t as much as hand out an lowly water reclamation seat with the appropriate offering. When Elgin’s Grand Victoria Casino asked for help with funding for a permanent concert venue, her highness told them that a six-figure contribution would be a good start.
And she certainly ain’t in jail!
If I thought Rod’s 14-year sentence would be deterrent to any elected official from engaging in a political process that’s older than the world’s oldest profession, I’d be the first to grab my pitchfork and torch and denounce Trump’s sentence commutation.
But his gig in the pokey hasn’t slowed them down any more than an Evanston alley speed bump. Can you say, “Mike Madigan, Ed Burke, the Soliz brothers, and Marty Quinn?” I knew you could. Ed Vrdolyak went to jail and he’s still at it. Maybe there’s something in the Chicago river aside from the occasional green dye.
Please note that Trump didn’t pardon Blago, he simply commuted his sentence. And when you Consider former Illinois Governor George Ryan served just 5.5 years for a bribery scandal that directly caused the death of a family of six, eight years in the slammer certainly ain’t a slap on the wrist.
Meanwhile, one of my favorite Facebook friends theorized that Rod had finally turned snitch and he’d soon start singing like canary surrounded by hungry cats. Nope! Donald Trumps, a man with no nuance whatsoever loves to grant clemency to friends and people he’s seen on TV.
If Rod wasn’t on ‘The Apprentice’ he’d still be jogging in the joint.
But the bottom line for me is, it’s always pained me that the good people of Illinois have had to cover his upkeep, and it will be more than fascinating to watch him try to earn a living for the first time in his less-than-mediocre life.
Lastly, though I’ve certainly overused this joke, Rod’s release does not nearly mean he’s off the hook. If I had to choose between staying in the pen and going home to my wife Patti, I wouldn’t have to think twice.
Living with that woman is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment.