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Rearview Mirror

Friday, Jan 30, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This quote from today’s New York Times probably sums up Rod Blagojevich’s bizarre attempts at denial better than anything I’ve ever seen…

“We should have been more selfish, not selfless,” he said. “It sounds probably perverse for me to say that based on what some people are saying about me. But it’s true. My family, we didn’t take advantage of all these things that people do.”

The worst part is the NY Times printed that quote without any context.

* Carol Marin looks at an ironic nexus

This morning, Rod Blagojevich embarks on a new life. He is a private citizen now, a man with time on his hands.

Meanwhile, another guy, one who gave young Rod his first job out of law school, is beginning his own new chapter. He’s about to be sent up the river to do some time.

That other guy is Eddie Vrdolyak.

“I don’t have to tell you what they say. You guys are in politics. You know what we have to do to go out and run and run elections . . . those are conversations . . . all of us in politics do in order to run campaigns and try to win elections.”

Those quotes from Blagojevich speech yesterday gently sums up the Vrdolyak style of governance. The harsh reality is that Blagojevich took everything that wasn’t nailed down.

* And this is a fitting description

“He never was really willing to be a governor,” state Rep. Julie Hamos (D- Evanston) said. “He was kind of a showman who came up with ideas at press conferences and blasted away if it never happened.”

* As Gov. Quinn urged yesterday, let’s put this clown in our rearview mirror…

* Obama says Ill. was crippled by Blagojevich

* As his time in office dwindles, Blagojevich expunges criminal records of former drug dealer and real estate mogul

* Health care association favored Blagojevich

* Blagojevich grants clemency to 2 on last day

* Money Troubles Mount For Blagojevich

* Ousted governor says he’ll look for new job

* Elected on a call for reform, defiant to the end, now jobless

* A politician’s rise, hard fall

* The FamilyCare controversy Blagojevich forget to mention

* Quotables: State officials sound off on Blagojevich

* Unfiltered: Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

* Unfiltered: Sen. Christine Radogno

* Unfiltered: Sen. Ricky Hendon

* Unfiltered: Blagojevich Responds to Impeachment, Thanks Supporters

* Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich thrown out of office

* Senate votes unanimously

* Senate Unanimously Votes Blagojevich’s “Political Death Sentence”

* Suburban lawmakers voted without reservations

* ‘Ordeal’ comes to an end as Blagojevich removed

* The end of an hair-a: That was the easy part

* Blagojevich’s final act — a rerun — is fitting

* Highlights of Blagojevich’s time in office

* Blagojevich firing came from flouting two sets of bosses

* The tapes, stupid

* Blagojevich says he’s saddened by ouster

* Blagojevich’s sad denial tour ends predictably

* Blagojevich has let us all down

* Blagojevich farewell takes trappings of lonely campaign

* Blago performance mesmerizing but unconvincing

* Blagojevich: ‘I never ever intended to violate any law’

* Governor’s 43 minutes of silence

* Illinoisans happy to see Blagojevich go

* Rock River Valley residents think former gov’s actions ‘shameful’

* We grew tired of Blagojevich’s act years ago

* A well-deserved end to Blagojevich’s tenure

* Ex-governor gets little sympathy downstate

* Governor no media darling, just a menace

* Blago’s ouster in state’s best interest

* New day dawns for Illinois with Blagojevich gone

* Blagojevich grandstanding to the end


* ‘One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus’

* Blago could get $64K state pension


  1. - RVM - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 9:54 am:

    I think there was a Pearl Jam song called “Rearview Mirror.” Google the lyrics - they are pretty appropriate.

  2. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 9:54 am:

    Blago tries to throw Quinn under the bus, but the wheels ain’t rolling:

    “My successor has done a whole bunch as the lieutenant governor — taken all kinds of trips all over the world and trade missions — like he’s got anything to do with anything as lieutenant governor.”

  3. - earnest - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 9:55 am:

    I’m done with that. I’d like to hear more about what Gov. Quinn is expected to do.

  4. - One of the 35 - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 9:57 am:

    Rich: I have an idea for the book title for Blagojevich. How about “Kingfish of the Prairie”. Just like Governor Huey Long, the Kingfish, King Rod was a populist and charismatic speaker. Both men utilized the state patronage system to build and expand their power base. Both men aspired to be President. Long had his “deduct box” and King Rod had his “50k to play” program to raise funds. I’m sure there are many more parallels between these two demigods.

  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:04 am:

    What an astounding couple of weeks. Obama inaugurated. Burris seated. Blago removed. Fast Eddie jailed.

  6. - Deep South - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:06 am:

    One of 35: Such a book would be an insult to Long.

  7. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:06 am:


    We ain’t seen nothing yet and you know it.

  8. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:11 am:

    Bye-Bye Blagojevich:

  9. - Levois - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:13 am:

    Is there much difference between the Governor who now has time on his hands versus the one who should’ve had no time on his hands?

  10. - You Go Boy - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:15 am:

    My blog name was invented with Blago in mind…Now that he’s actually gone, time for a new name and YIPPEEE! for that.

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:19 am:

    ==Is there much difference between the Governor who now has time on his hands versus the one who should’ve had no time on his hands?==

    Just the means, motive and opportunity to do a lot of damage.

  12. - MikeintheSuburbs - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:22 am:

    If this whole thing had been in a movie, no one would have believed it.

    The question I have now is, will Fitz go ahead with the indictment or will he decide that Blago has been punished enough and is no longer a threat so he will take a pass rather than go through a trial where Blago could actually win given the vagueness of evidence of actual criminal wrongdoing.

  13. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:23 am:


    We haven’t seen anything close to all the evidence. And he will definitely pursue an indictment and conviction. Too much time and resources invested to give him a pass just because he’s no longer in office. Remember, Ryan wasn’t in office when he was indicted.

  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:25 am:

    ===The question I have now is, will Fitz go ahead with the indictment or will he decide that Blago has been punished enough===

    LOL. The answer is: Full speed ahead.

  15. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:40 am:

    For the most part, on Blago’s whirlwind public speaking tour I think he did a pretty good job of not further incriminating himself, but that NYT article is rediculous. It almost tells me he will plead.

    “That’s a tough place. The politics there is not motivated by idealism or high purpose. It’s nuts and bolts, and you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. I came up that way.”


    “We should have been more selfish, not selfless,”

    These are statements that go well with tapes, witnesses and mountains of other evidence. Either he is completley nuts or he’s given up.

    I believe he is tuning up to sing.

  16. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:41 am:

    Time to turn the cameras off..|

  17. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:42 am:

    Sorry, that link was garbage..

  18. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:43 am:

    I have watched the Senate impeached, convict and remove Rod Blagojevich as governor. I have watched Pat Quinn sworn in. Over the past few days I deliberately avoided blogging as I just didn’t feel that anything I could blog could add or detract from the historical moment we witnessed this week. There are moments in government that can render even VanillaMan moot. The Blagojevich impeachment and conviction was one of those. It was a week where all of us watched legislative paramedics somberly declare a governor dead.

    We all saw this coming. Rod Blagojevich was given the keys to the governor’s office and he went on a six year bender. From 2003 until yesterday when he was officially declared politically dead, Rod Blagojevich crashed and annihilated every constitutional guardrail, warning sign, and road block Illinois had set up to prevent catastrophe.

    Blagojevich wasn’t merely drunk on ego, he was utterly deaf. He didn’t listen to anyone. From Day One, when the sirens and alarms within our political system began to sound out warnings, Rod Blagojevich didn’t hear a thing. The Illinois Democrats who nominated and elected him into office discovered that they elected a man incapable of listening to anything other than his own voice. Consequentially, they discovered that Rod Blagojevich never stopped talking so that he could never be a position to listen to anyone. It took handcuffs to get Rod Blagojevich’s attention, and the moment they were removed from his wrists, his mind wanded back to his inane blatherings.

    Rod Blagojevich wore people down. He popped and cackled, spun and ran incessantly. Eventually those in a position of normally being listened to, tired of endlessly excusing their governor’s deafness towards them. We have seen dozens of gubernatorial staffers cycle in other gubernatorial administrations, but with Blagojevich we saw hundreds wear out and give up.

    Eventually, those who surrounded a man like Rod Blagojevich took advantage of these negative attributes. Hours of listening to Blagojevich, enabled them to ally themselves against those who frustrated Rod and empower themselves. The Former Governor’s incessant ramblings would take no prisoners. Anyone who frustrated Blagojevich would discover that the jabber-jaw governor relished torching cherished laws, offices and personnel.

    It was a matter of time before the flames of destruction eventually engulfed the Blagojevich administration itself. We saw this coming as soon as the election results were official November 2007. He left voters with no other way to scrap him off their shoes, except impeachment and conviction. Yesterday, we saw senators vote unanimously, because they had no other choice.

    Illinois is a wreck at a time when the country is unable to find extra assistance to repair a wreck. It will take years. We will discover that the wreckage is far greater than we have imagined. We may discover that we cannot repair the wreckage caused by Rod Blagojevich.

    This morning, cleanup has started.

  19. - Zora - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:45 am:

    The ironies abound as we witness the spectacle of Rod’s transition from public to private life (a spectacle that he goaded the media and public to watch at every turn, as recently as last night, when in front of his house he once again used children, not his own, as human shields).

    Mell is a wealthy man who will want to help his grandchildren. So Rod may have to choose between accepting a handout from his father-in-law and finding a way to make a living fast.

    Or, since he is now banned from holding public office, perhaps the dissolution of his political committee will provide resources for his family. Private tuition, etc., ain’t cheap.

  20. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    ==… render even VanillaMan moot. ==

    VMan, I’ve always considered you moot. Now, mute — one can only dream. :)

  21. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:49 am:

    Still needs fixed:

    Illinois Covered - or not:

  22. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:51 am:

    It’ll take some time to fix all those websites. RRB put his name on absolutely everything, so it’s good to perform the service of rooting out what needs changing.

    However, remember to be patient.

  23. - Leave a light on George - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:52 am:

    Governor Ex-Rod’s removal yesterday just made Fitz’s job a little easier. He is a private citizen now. Indicting/prosecuting him now has no direct effect on the citizens as a whole - other than cheering them up.

  24. - Wumpus - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 10:58 am:

    Nice of all these politicians who rode Rod’s coattails and let him raise funds for them to show their true colors.

  25. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 11:16 am:

    The Great Blagojevich Coverup starts this morning.

    At about 11:30 a.m., the Illinois Toll Highway Authority will put up a new sign–one without the former governor’s name–at the Boughton Road toll plaza in the southbound lanes of Interstate Highway 355.

  26. - Cheswick - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 11:44 am:

    Does anybody know what becomes of his campaign fund now?

  27. - jaundiced eye - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 11:46 am:

    Where was Rod’s FL-based PR agency yesterday when he allowed the NY Times to follow him as he bid farewell to places & people in Springfield? The photo of his exiting the bathroom in the Guv’s office with his hairbrush? He seemed “morose” when saying goodbye to the chefs at the executive mansion?? Has he ever met them before? The entire NYT coverage of his delusional behavior sets things up for weeks of snarky comments!

  28. - Anon - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Lynn Sweet:

    I just chatted with Justin Herndon, one of the publicists who put together the media blitz for now former Gov. Blagojevich. The blitz did not prevent the Illinois State Senate from removing him from office on Thursday, but it did, Herndon told me, show his “personality” and people are interested in him.

    While Blagojevich has nothing booked through the weekend, he may hit the shows again next week, Herndon said. Blagojevich still faces a federal criminal indictment on public corruption charges.

    “There is a whole host of requests we have,” Herndon said. He said it was more than news shows; the late night outlets are interested.

  29. - Sigmund Freud - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    == . . . but it did, Herndon told me, show his “personality” and people are interested in him. ==

    Anon: Did Sweet report WHICH of Blagojevich’s personalities Herndon thought was revealed?

  30. - Secret Square - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:22 pm:

    The saddest part of the NYT story, for me, is where Rod admits that he has been trying to adjust to becoming a “regular person” again, since he hasn’t driven a car or gone anywhere in public without his security detail for 6 years.

    In some ways, perhaps, he was already a “prisoner” of his imperial style of governorship — an ironic foretaste of the confinement he is likely to experience in the future. You could almost say he’d become “institutionalized,” a la the paroled inmates in “The Shawshank Redemption.”

    Maybe another part of the reason for his frantic media blitz is because he’s forgotten how to handle “normal” life on the outside, without people doing things for him, taking orders from him, hanging on his every word, etc.

  31. - Chanson - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:30 pm:

    I,m looking out my windshield now and all I can see is a tremendous pay to play stimulous package being shoved down our throats by more Illinois pols in Washington,DC. They better remember that we have tasted impeachment and it only takes once to acquire a new powerful habit.

  32. - Captain Flume - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    You know, indictments and all that aside, I don’t even like thinking about him. Brrr, makes me shivver to recall the last six years. This must be just a small indication of what getting rid of an eastern European dictatorship was like, and I mean that every bit literally.

  33. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    I just heard Blago’s house went up for sale.

  34. - BehindTheScenes - Friday, Jan 30, 09 @ 1:01 pm:

    So the ISP detail let Rod brush up on his driving skills…? Wonder if he remembered to renew his license? Should be easy to check.

    Anyone know if Gov. Quinn received any resignations from agency heads or any other top appointments this morning (as protocol would seem to require since they serve at the Governor’s pleasure)?

  35. - Lynn S - Monday, Feb 2, 09 @ 8:25 pm:

    The house in Ravenswood, or the condo in DC? or both? Any word on what they’re asking, or who the realtor is? (Is it River Realty?) Will they be having any open houses any time soon?

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