SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Rod as Fredo

Friday, Dec 9, 2011

* My Sun-Times column

There’s no real mystery to understanding Rod Blagojevich.

He was, and still is, a failed wannabe gangster.

Not a real gangster who pops caps in people’s behinds. Blagojevich tried to model himself on movie gangsters.

The guy even quoted a character from “The Godfather, Part 11” during a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

“This is the business we’ve chosen,” said an angry Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone in that classic film that just about everyone in politics has studied beginning to end.

Blagojevich once said the very same thing during a State of the State address.

His flashy, expensive clothes, his gigantic posse, his brash swagger all point to the wannabe gangster type. I mean, the man is broke but he still had a driver take him to court every day? That’s gangster if I ever saw it.

The thing is, Blagojevich was never much good at the gangster role.

Sure, he had most of the theatrics down, but aside from firing a bunch of helpless state workers without the proper political connections, he was a failure right down the line.

Blagojevich declared war on House Speaker Michael Madigan when he was still in the Illinois House. By 2007, all hell had broken loose. This was supposed to be his Michael Corleone moment, when he would wipe out all his enemies in one fell swoop.

Instead, the fight lasted two years and ended with a paranoid and deranged Blagojevich caught on FBI wiretaps plotting ways he could leverage Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat to get himself appointed to a Cabinet post, or a cushy job making big bucks or raking in tons of campaign contributions from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Madigan’s obvious desire to pursue impeachment charges and Obama’s rise to the nation’s top job had finally collapsed Blagojevich’s insane belief that he was the one destined for the White House, and he didn’t handle it well.

Remember his enraged rant when he discovered his job approval rating had sunk to 13 percent?

“I f—ing busted my a– and p-ssed people off and gave your grandmother a free f—ing ride on a bus. OK? I gave your f—ing baby a chance to have health care. I fought every one of those —holes including every special interest out there. … And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of y’all out there think I’m doing a good job. So f–k all of you!”

When I heard that, I immediately thought of another rant by a failed wannabe movie gangster, Fredo Corleone.

“I’m your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over!” Fredo screamed at Michael Corleone.

“That’s the way Pop wanted it,” Michael calmly responded.

“It ain’t the way I wanted it!” Fredo shouted back. “I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says, like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!”

Fredo’s life ended not long afterward, shot in the back of the head at sundown while fishing with a “family” friend. Blagojevich’s political life ended not long after his rant was recorded, arrested by FBI agents at his home one morning before sunrise.

Like Fredo, Blagojevich was far too interested in the flashy life to take care of business, though both were convinced they were destined for greatness. Fredo’s botched shortcut up the family tree by helping a rival gangster try to kill his own brother undid him.

Blagojevich’s illegal shortcuts resulted in a 14-year prison sentence and permanent infamy.

So, maybe the former governor can console himself with the fact that he’s still alive.

* Then again

Ryan is now serving his sentence of more than six years at a federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Ind., where he lives in dorm-style housing.

But Blagojevich might expect a more harsh situation, at least at first. Inmates sentenced to more than 10 years are generally sent to secured prisons, said Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Edmond Ross. [Emphasis added.]

* In other news, Scooter has urged Blagojevich to game the system

Scott Fawell, the former chief of staff of a different convicted governor, George Ryan, is offering a tip on how Rod Blagojevich can cut his lengthy 14-year sentence.

The former governor may be able to make a request with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to take part in a substance abuse program.

Fawell said that’s what he did before going into prison.

“What you do is say that in between the time you’re sentenced and the time you report, you just couldn’t stop drinking,” Fawell said.

It shaved time off of Fawell’s 78-month sentence he received for corruption that happened while he worked for Ryan. He went through a nine-month program in prison, then got six months off in a halfway house plus one year of credit for doing the program. That’s on top of time off for good behavior.

“I didn’t want to do it at first. I said: ‘I’m going to save a little shred of dignity,’ ” he said. “But it’s the only game in town. It’s the only way you can get time off” in the federal system.

* Related…

* VIDEO: Jackson: I Didn’t Know Blago Had a Brother

* Jesse L. Jackson Jr.: ‘I will be vindicated’

* Robert Blagojevich’s tears for his brother: ‘It’s just grossly unfair’

* Robert Blagojevich feels for his brother

* VIDEO: Gov. Pat Quinn on Rod Blagojevich’s sentence

* VIDEO: David Letterman - Rod Blagojevich Top Ten

* VIDEO: Thomas Glasgow Discusses 14 Year Federal Prison Sentence for Rod Blagojevich

* Editorial: Blago sentence could start a new era

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - lucid brasi - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 6:47 am:

    Fawell still has not developed any character


  2. - Cindy Lou - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 7:17 am:

    I’d think the girls would have a bit more respect for their father if he didn’t lie and play drunk/druggie between now and his depature. The guy has done enough damage to his daughters without trying to get out of his misdeed time by yet again lying and playing the system. Just how does that work ‘uh girls, I’ve decided to cut sometime off my sentence by lying and cheating some more’. Seriously. I can’t think of a much worse Rattling Rod than a drunken Rattling Rod yakking about how he’ll beat his sentence length by being deceitful.


  3. - Pat Collins - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 7:25 am:

    What is worse, that Fawell gamed the system, or bragged about it?


  4. - Way Way Down Here - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 7:28 am:

    ===Not a real gangster who pops caps in people’s behinds.===

    I don’t know why, but that line made me laugh out loud. Rod rapping like Warren Beatty in Bulworth maybe? There’s a picture for ya.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 8:04 am:

    I thought Zagel’s use of “immature” and “reckless” were appropriate. Those are pretty devastating words to apply to a 55-year-old man.

    And props to Kass for pointing it out, but I thought Zagel’s smackdown of Blago’s lawyers contention that he came from “nothing” was stirring.

    The lawyer’s back-of-the-hand to Blago’s hardworking, immigrant parents — who somehow got their idiot son in a position to go to Northwestern and law school — was disgusting and well-deserving of a smackdown.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 8:28 am:

    Scott Fawell … dignity … that was a Hoot! Nothing like Scooter working the system, and nothing LIKE Scooter telling someone to WORK the system. Nice going Scotty, you still don’t get it.

    Rich, the Fredo Corleone is Spot-On! We, on your blog often, ourselves (ok, me …sorry) refer to the Godfather movies, be they by quotes or by characters. Rod as Fredo in this snapshot of Rod could not be a better window to look at Rod as he looks prison time square in the face.

    Fredo is also a tragic character, because his flaws would never let him triumph, like some former governor we know. Rod’s legacy is that of a Wanna-Be.

    It was never about being liked, It was never about being smart. It WAS about who we would want to run the business. Vito Corleone chose Michael, which was “Smaaat”, We chose Rod … We … chose Fredo.


  7. - Stones - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 8:48 am:

    Classic! Fawell telling Blago how to “beat the system”. I guess it’s true that thieves stick together.


  8. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 8:56 am:

    Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL9ihXiFAko

    (Clean version best I can tell)


  9. - Secret Square - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 8:58 am:

    Great column, although the movie title looks like “The Godfather, Part Eleven (11)” instead of “The Godfather, Part II (capital I’s representing Roman numerals)”


  10. - BelleAire - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 9:06 am:

    It is difficult for me to believe the poor, immigrant story since his father worked a decent job and BOTH of his kids attended law school.It’s not your typical immigrant family.
    It’s now 2005 and Blago has already been warned that he is in trouble for making problems for Mell but he still believes that he is the man and can do what he pleases.
    I picture the Mell Family Holiday table back in 2005–Mell tries to reason with Blago and Patty about the issue and they leave mid-meal with a container of left-overs. They cannot believe Big Daddy or understand what he is telling them that there is trouble ahead for both of them if they do not start playing the game.


  11. - You Can't Stop What's Coming - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 9:09 am:

    So, just keep on lying?

    Sounds like Fawell didn’t learn a single thing during his stint.


  12. - publius - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 9:26 am:

    rich. a very insightful column, one of your best,


  13. - walkinfool - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Rich: Impressive week for you, all in.


  14. - Lincoln Parker - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 10:09 am:

    Great analogy Rich. Blago wanted all the power of a Madigan/Daley without actually doing any work.


  15. - MrJM - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 10:09 am:

    As if being Scott Fawell wasn’t reason enough to binge drink…

    – MrJM


  16. - chad - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 10:38 am:

    The Fredo comparison is brutal, but spot-on. As for Scott Fawell, we can all be glad that he has reconfirmed to potential employers his habit to scheme around the rules of a system. Just the kind of guy you need working for you!


  17. - QBRNST - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 11:09 am:

    Given Blago’s deranged behavior pattern…who’s to say going into rehab wouldn’t be an honest move?


  18. - dupage dan - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    We…chose Fredo.

    That says it all.

    Great column. It says as much about the power elite in this state and the voters who would put Fredo in the mansion as it does about Fredo, I mean Rod.


  19. - Esquire - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    As much as I enjoyed reading this, it could also be argued that Blagojevich could be compared to Tony Montana in Brian De Palma’s version of “Scarface.” He turned on his old mentor and sponsor (Robert Loggia = Dick Mell) and took a woman from him who became his crazy wife (Michelle Pfeiffer = Patti). He destroyed himself when he came to believe the slogan “The World is Yours” and spent his final days in paranoid isolation before being brought down.


  20. - Bill F - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 12:48 pm:

    I know it was you, Rod. You broke my heart.


  21. - Roadiepig - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rich - wanted to add my kudos to everyone’ else’s above. He seems to believe in the “roles” he plays (what the rest of us would call “living our life”), and Fredo is who he ended up as in real life. Oswego Willie - great last paragraph.


  22. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    ==but I thought Zagel’s smackdown of Blago’s lawyers contention that he came from “nothing” was stirring.==

    “Nothing” is what he is now and will be long after he finishes his prison time. A pitiful heritage for his immigrant family.

    BTW - I don’t think they offer rehab for sociopaths.


  23. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===A pitiful heritage for his immigrant family.===

    That’s also a heartbreaking part of this. I think of his mom taking a second job scrubbing floors so he could go to law school.

    What a waste. He could be in his third term right now if he hadn’t been such a jag. So much talent down the drain.


  24. - Robert - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    Great analogy and funny article, Rich! Dick Mell = Don Corleone? Played the game but didn’t go over the line like Blago?


  25. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    It seems he never really had any understanding of the job or of governing. In which case, what made him think that he could make money as governor of Illinois? Seems that there is no rational thought process, no understanding of history or politics.


  26. - Frank - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    Every time he combed his hair, he said a Hail Mary


  27. - Happy Returns - Friday, Dec 9, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    “Great column, although the movie title looks like “The Godfather, Part Eleven (11)” instead of “The Godfather, Part II (capital I’s representing Roman numerals)””

    Yeah - Godfather’s 11 is where all the Corleone’s get back together for one more multi-million $$ caper/heist, and it’s a delightful romp.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Unions file suit in St. Clair County
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* AG Madigan files TRO
* In re James Dimas
* Question of the day
* Weirdest. Oppo Dump. Ever.
* Big bucks reported by Zopp, Raja
* LIVE Comptroller Munger press conference coverage
* Yet another clock starts ticking down
* Hey, Cardinal fans...
* Rauner makes cheery visit to Illinois State Museum
* The Tier 2 difference
* *** UPDATED x4 *** Attorney General goes to court
* Credit Unions – Protecting Financial Futures
* GOP legislator wants "temporary, balanced budget"
* Food for thought
* The blame game
* Meanwhile, in the real world...
* When Indiana invaded Illinois
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Apple Maps vs. Google Maps (Video)
        * Android Community Weekly Digest: Jul. 5, 2015
        * First Few Days with the Oppo R7
        * Our 5 best new Windows Phone apps of the week
        * Curved screens versus flat
        * Motorola Droid Turbo experiences battery issues after Lollipop update
        * [Deal] Flipkart slashes INR 9,000 off the price of the Nexus 6

        * Sony’s Upcoming 4K Network Camera
        * Browse The Web And More With Toshiba’s New 11.6-Inch Laptop
        * Use this trick to boost your phone speaker's volume
        * Ulefone’s Latest 4G LTE-Enabled Android 5.1 Smartphone With 3GB RAM
        * Fred Wilson: The Next Reddit Will Likely Be Built on the Bitcoin Blockchain
        * Facebook Messenger Experiment Lets You Share GIFs Easily
        * Nintendo NX Won’t Be As Powerful As The PS4 [Rumor]

        * Sale heads list of potential Sox ASG reserves
        * White Sox steal another HR from Davis
        * Errors derail White Sox winning streak
        * Orioles 9, White Sox 1: Ugly all over; winning streak over
        * Errors derail White Sox winning streak
        * Sale seeks history against former mentor Buehrle
        * White Sox winning fair share of close games

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Addressing the fiscal mess in Chicago - Quad-Ci.....
        * Closer Look: Despite Illinois state budget dead.....
        * Illinois Lawmakers Still Negotiating Budget - WIFR..
        * Several Illinois programs could halt if no budg.....
        * Closer Look: Despite budget deadlock, there are.....
        * Bruce Rauner skilled in making Dems scapegoats .....
        * Despite budget deadlock, there are ways out - T.....


        * Boy, 7, killed during violent July 4 celebrations in Chicago
        * Bison thrive on the Illinois prairie; 14 calves born
        * Quincy man charged in shooting that killed 1, wounded 1
        * Danville childhood home of Dick Van Dyke on condemned list
        * Traders recall the 'rush' and 'roar' as famed pits close
        * Closer Look: Despite budget deadlock, there are ways out
        * Dead shows set attendance records at Chicago's Soldier Field
        * 7-year-old boy shot, killed in Chicago over Fourth of July
        * Woman who tries to sneak on planes arrested twice in 2 days
        * East St. Louis paid big legal fees to state senator's firm

        * Despite state budget deadlock, there are ways out
        * Despite budget deadlock, there are ways out
        * Statehouse Insider: Take the over on when this impasse is going to end
        * Springfield School District has paid nearly $500K in pension penalties in past 6 years
        * East St. Louis paid big legal fees to state senator's firm
        * Illinois Senate honors victims of Charleston church shootings
        * Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes
        * State employee lawsuit seeks assurance of full pay despite no budget
        * U of I freezes administration hiring over budget
        * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse

        * Toni Preckwinkle's monster
        * Why Caterpillar is letting its geek flag fly
        * How much could Chicago pension payments jack up your property tax bill? Try 30 percent
        * Who's to blame for the summer of governmental meltdown?
        * Can Rauner pit Cullerton against Madigan against Emanuel?


          * Fans revel in U.S. women's soccer team's 'unbelievable' victory
          * Design student revamps cardboard signs to help Chicago's homeless stand out
          * Police boss McCarthy on child's death: 'This has got to stop.'
          * Two men killed in Gresham after shots fired at SUV
          * Woman known as 'serial stowaway' arrested again
          * 3 killed, 27 wounded over eight hours in Chicago, including boy, 7
          * Dad said he rushed dying son, 7, to hospital: 'You cool, I know you cool'
          * Man killed in hit-and-run in Lawndale
          * Inside a weekend crime scene: 'Somebody walked up with a mask on'
          * Three children among four hurt in Elgin fireworks incident


          * Coping while black: A season of traumatic news takes a psychological toll
          * Rauner proposal would advance $450M to help Chicago schools
          * Emails show Emanuel, top officials aware of Clinton's private address
          * After pension payment, Chicago Public Schools to make $200M in cuts
          * CPS, Emanuel warn of deep cuts, layoffs to school district
          * The legacy of Willie Dixon on his 100th birthday
          * Preckwinkle may reevaluate sales tax plan if Springfield acts on pensions
          * At eleventh hour, CPS makes huge pension payment
          * Southwest Side residents work toward racial healing
          * As budget deadline approaches, Illinois faces a government shutdown


          * Fullerton, Konar and Reif: Pope Francis' message a chance for Illinois to plan ethically for climate change
          * Despite state budget deadlock, there are ways out
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Independent redistricting proposal could be on 2016 ballot
          * Statehouse Insider: Take the over on when this impasse is going to end
          * Statehouse Insider: Take the over on when this impasse is going to end
          * Springfield School District has paid nearly $500K in pension penalties in past 6 years
          * Letter: Rauner being set up for a fall
          * Angie Muhs: A year later, optimistic and grateful
          * East St. Louis paid big legal fees to state senator's firm
          * Illinois Senate honors victims of Charleston church shootings


          * Dean Troutman returns home after his 700-mile trek
          * Urbana man arrested following home invasion
          * Peoria teen Emily Coffey will take diabetes cause to Capitol Hill
          * Volunteer opportunities for the week of July 5
          * Causes for Concern for Week of July 5
          * 2015 Champaign County Freedom Celebration fireworks show
          * Best of teams: No. 35, South Carolina
          * Daily Digest 7/5/15
          * Daily Digest: Ceremony to honor forest anniversary
          * Best of teams: No. 36, North Carolina State


          * Ramos homers, drives in 2 as Nationals defeat Giants 3-1
          * Stevenson grad Brunson named MVP in U19 title game
          * Lloyd hat trick leads US over Japan 5-2 for World Cup title
          * Shoe factory collapses in eastern China, killing 13 people
          * Fans cheer as Princess Charlotte christened on royal estate

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Durbin on Overtime Rules - Alton Daily News...

          * Thousands Line Route For Arlington Heights......

          * Carli Lloyd-3; Japan-2
          * I’m betting the NEA RA will say, “No racist flags in schools or public spaces.”
          * NEA RA: It is frequently an out-of-body experience.
          * US Women's Soccer Final Shown At Crew
          * CPS pension bill paid for with the the lives of teachers and students. In debt by design.
          * I will be talking about Confederate flags direct from the NEA RA on WBAI radio Monday morning.
          * Supreme’s agree to hear fair share case. Public employee unions in jeopardy.
          * Why my NBI was more than about the Confederate flag. 
          * Rev. William J. Barber: “The Confederate war flag belongs in a museum — not over or on our state house or on state-issued license plates. It is a symbol of terror, hatred and treason to America’s ideal.”
          * Story can help you and your buyers avoid financial roadblocks


          * State, Teamsters Reach Tentative Agreement - Workers at IDOT, DHS, IDES, and CMS in Cook County to Vote on New Contract
          * Governor Rauner Extends Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines for Businesses and Individuals Impacted by Recent Tornado - Deadlines Pushed to December 31, 2015
          * Illinois EPA Releases Annual Report on Landfill Capacity
          * IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained - Fireworks Show Sponsors Reminded to Check Credentials of Fireworks Vendors
          * Governor Receives Initial Criminal Justice Commission Report




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller