by David Ellis
Probably the most frequently asked question I get about Rod Blagojevich these days is: What will be his defense at trial? At the most recent talk I gave, someone noted that they’d been watching Rod on Celebrity Apprentice, listening to him repeatedly claim that he was innocent and that he would show as much at his trial. How, this person wanted to know, did he plan to accomplish that?
My answer: Keep watching that dumb show.
I have to admit that I’ve watched Celebrity Apprentice this season. I’m not sure why. The guy’s a complete buffoon, but unfortunately he wasn’t a harmless buffoon. He was remarkably destructive. The system of government effectively braked to a standstill while he was governor. Nobody could trust him, and when the man with so much power can’t be trusted, how can you do anything?
He also made my life, personally, rather hellish with the retributive, childish games he played, including forcing the legislature to remain in session, pointlessly, for almost two years straight.
I had enough Blago to last me a lifetime. And yet I watch that show.
A lot of people think he’s making matters worse by running around like a moron, blabbing to every talking head and now appearing on this reality show. (By the way, how is that show in any way reflective of “reality?”)
But I disagree. I think that Rod is selling his defense on that show.
Have you seen it? It’s guys against gals, and the first week the challenge was to run a diner for a day and see how much money you could raise. Rod, not surprisingly, completely blew his assigned task and was openly mocked on the show for doing it. The only reason he wasn’t the first celebrity eliminated was because his side—the men—won the competition.
Last week, he once again proved absolutely worthless. He couldn’t even turn on a computer, much less type or do any kind of research. Again, he looked completely stupid, and he quite possibly would have been eliminated had it not been for the fact that another celebrity volunteered to be eliminated.
Plus, even in his interactions with others, he looks like the polar opposite of a leader. He’s a wall flower, a blowhard at best with no substance. That’s the Rod I remember; the guy couldn’t run a meeting to save his life. He could hardly organize a thought.
And that, in broad terms, will be Rod’s defense at trial. He’s a clown. A blowhard. He smiled for the cameras and issued press releases, but his aides did everything else. Those things he said on tape? That was just blabber. Nobody took him seriously. The people around him said, “Yes, Governor, right away, Governor,” but then they blew him off when he left the room. Nobody actually followed through on the things he said, and he knew they wouldn't.
The harmless goof. He plays it naturally on TV. Let’s see how he plays it at trial.