Disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich ripped the legislators who threw him out of office in a radio interview Wednesday, referring to them as clueless drunks who cheat on their spouses.
Appearing on WLS Radio's "The Don and Roma Morning Show," Blagojevich castigated the supposed hypocrisy of the state officeholders behind his historic impeachment and conviction:
They give these speeches and they act like they're so moral.
There's a prominent legislative leader, OK, you know, who was going to work with us on a couple of issues. But, you know, this is very common, he has a little laundry list of stuff he wants, and among these things--this is how the system in Springfield works, where a bunch of these lawmakers go down to Springfield, nobody even knows who they are, they're away from their families, it's a whole different world down there, a bunch of them are cheating on their spouses, a lot of them drink in excess, very few of them know what's going on.
Blagojevich also called out new State Senate President John Cullerton for his luxury car, all-but-implying that it's a product of institutionalized corruption:
My state senator here, who is the senate president, John Cullerton, drives around the neighborhood in a Jaguar. He works in a politically-connected law firm that does business, that gets businesses, you know, from state government.
They do real estate property tax work They represent big commercial properties downtown. And they get a piece of the savings. [House Speaker Michael] Madigan makes millions of dollars doing that that as well. Cullerton and Madigan have been part of an effort to prevent property tax relief for homeowners.
Blagojevich also said that his family finances are OK and he has no plans to file for unemployment benefits. From the AP:
Blagojevich was removed from office Jan. 29 after an impeachment trial by Illinois lawmakers that was triggered by his arrest on federal corruption charges. And Illinois' former first lady, Patti Blagojevich, was fired Jan. 20 from her $100,000-a-year job as chief fundraiser for a Chicago homeless agency.
During an interview on WLS Radio's "The Don and Roma Morning Show" today, Blagojevich said he and his family are doing fine financially despite those career setbacks.
Despite his statement, Blagojevich is not elgible to receive unemployment, as the Daily Herald's John Patterson notes. Patti's situation is less certain.
Perhaps it's time someone told the former governor that governors and other elected officials are not eligible for unemployment based on their public office salaries. Think about it for a moment. If they were, every politician voted out of office would be able to claim unemployment.
As for Patti, her eligibility depends on exactly why she got canned. You don't get unemployment if you're fired for doing something wrong. We'd also need to know more about the exact nature of her former job as not everyone automatically qualifies for unemployment benefits.
Blagojevich touched on lighter issues, joking about the contract offer he recieved from the Joliet JackHammers minor league baseball team.
An extensive (though not full) transcript of the interview is at Eric Zorn's Change of Subject blog.
Listen to Blagojevich's appearance here.