Gov. Rod Blagojevich always came off to me as a little quirky and even nerdy in his public persona-no offense meant to us nerds.
But on the wiretapped tapes released in the criminal complaint filed last week against him for corruption, Blagojevich sounded more like Michael Corleone or Tony Soprano-with a bleep, bleep here and a bleep, bleep there, thanks to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s censoring of the governor’s saucier language.
This is a governor who couldn’t tell a joke in public to save his life, who talked about his love of Elvis, and whose voice seemed more suited for a Saturday morning cartoon than politics.
What a geek. But that’s OK because geeks are cool. It’s just that this particular geek was not. Because while coming across as some affable dork able to talk about nerdy stuff with as much interest as serious state business, Blagojevich ran the state like a thug. And he comes across as the biggest thug this side of Tony Montana on these wiretaps.
Only a straight-up gangsta would try to make money by selling something that didn’t belong to him. Any upstanding and “ethical” governor would have tried to make the best political deal before choosing Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate. That’s not illegal, it’s just politics.
But Don Blago said, “‘Bleep’ that!” He was gonna get paid personally for that seat. And only a real thug would make sure his Rod-a-da chick-in this case his wife, Patti-was gonna get hers too.
Political and media pundits have been taking shots at Chicago and Illinois for its corruption, past and present. Fair enough. But Blago reminded me more of ancient Rome and a warped, corrupt emperor flexing his power at all cost. Caligula. Nero. Tiberius. Now, these guys were really out of their minds, but save for the more evil and barbaric acts, Blago would fit right in.
He lost some thug points, though, by having ministers come to his home last Friday to pray with him. You don’t see DMX asking to prayer with Rev. Sharpton after beating down some mark, do you?
And of course, he lost the most points by doing the one thing a thug should never allow to happen: getting caught. But most thugs don’t give a “bleep.” If they go down, they’re going down hardcore-“I didn’t do it, you ain’t got “bleep” on me!”
Now, I don’t advocate thuggish behavior, and in fact, more harm than good seems to come from it. But folk are going to do what they want to do, and behave however they want to behave.
And sometimes, people will just bring the thug out of you, even if you don’t want it to. But Rod Blagojevich? The Rod-father. Rod-face (say hello to his lil’ friend). Nobody made him do jack-“bleep.” He went old school. Back to big city, machine-style politics.
He’s like something out of Goodfellas. You want to cushy state job? “Bleep” you, pay him. You want to be a U.S. senator? “Bleep” you, pay him. You need some state money to help you get by? “Bleep” you, pay him. And what about old “potty-mouth” Patti, as Barbara Walters on The View referred to the gov’s wife? Well, every thug guy needs a down-ass thug woman.
As for resigning as governor? You must be outta your “bleepin” mind. Thugs don’t die, they multiply.