I don't often find myself laughing when I read The New York Times
, but today's profile of Rod Blagojevich
literally laughing out loud. For example:
Mr. Blagojevich, 52, rarely turns up for work at his official state office in Chicago, former employees say, is unapologetically late to almost everything, and can treat employees with disdain, cursing and erupting in fury for failings as mundane as neglecting to have at hand at all times his preferred black Paul Mitchell hairbrush. He calls the brush "the football," an allusion to the "nuclear football," or the bomb codes never to be out of reach of a president.
Maybe it's just me, but I found this endearing, as I did many of the tidbits in the Times report. He comes off like a combination of The Fonz, Joan Crawford, and the Joe Pesci character from Goodfellas.
Other fun Blagojevich facts:* Blagojevich rarely showed up at the State House
– Is it any surprise that the guy who tried to sell off a Senate seat also viewed the governorship as a "no show" job? * When another politician told him that his father had just had a stroke, Blagojevitch asked if the guy's family would be donating to his campaign
– I can't confirm this, but I suspect Blago said "That's a shame. Does his signing hand still work?" * Blagojevich told staffers in 2004 that he was about to be tapped as John Kerry's running mate, but he wasn't sure he wanted the job
– Actually, the second part of that is one of the saner things Blagojevich has said. * Recent wiretaps show Blagojevich still hoping to run for president in 2016
– With the indictment, he may need to scale that back to a prominent cabinet post. * The whole reason Blagojevich was ever investigated is because he started a fight with his father-in-law
– According to the Times, Blago shut down one of "Dad's" relative's landfills, in what his father-in-law called a personal vendetta, so the old man ratted him out. * Blagojevich is an Elvis buff
– If he had bothered to move into the governor's mansion, I could totally see him installing a "Jungle Room." * Blago screamed "You're trying to sabotage my career!" at staffers for taking too long to get his daughters' shoes on before an event
– I can relate, actually. When I was a kid, my Dad would get us all up at, like, 6 am to go to the beach, and my mom would drive him nuts by basically remodeling the whole house before we could leave, usually at around noon.
I gleaned two important lessons from this story, hilarity aside. First, that Blagojevich is exactly the kind of guy I'd love to have a beer with, or invite to a poker game. That's why we ought not elect our leaders based on that standard.
Second, I think this story brightly illustrates the extent to which campaign money hurts politics. This is not an excuse for Blagojevich, but an observation. All the guy ever did was raise money, it seems, and in that regard, he doesn't differ much from every other politician.
(Chimey music) "The More You Know..."