President-elect Barack Obama is a "motherfucker."
That's the word from no less an authority than Gov. Rod Blagojevich, speaking just after Obama's election last month.
That had to be long after he must have suspected that the feds were recording his conversations. Wonder what he was saying before he knew the feds had him wired?
The dailies described the language of our state's exec--and his wife Patti for that matter--as salty. No shit.
To really get the feel for his stunning story, you owe it to yourself to at least skim the federal complaint here [pdf].
The federal complaint said Blagojevich conspired with his chief of staff, John Harris, to sell the Senate vacancy created by Obama's election to the presidency. Blago saw the Senate seat as a valuable prize, or as he put in an intercepted conversation: "I've got this thing, and it's fuckin' golden, and uh, uh, and I'm not going to give it up for fuckin' nothing."
He said Obama's top choice as a replacement--Obama has said he didn't speak with Blago--is "not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them."
The governor comes off as bored and trapped in his job and as anxious as an entrepreneur to "monetize" his business during the Internet bust. He didn't want to "suck it up for two years" as our lowly, underpaid, unappreciated governor and give this "motherfucker [the President-elect his choice of ] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him."
Blago envisioned that selling the Senate seat could wrangle his wife Patti a high-paying corporate board post and could land him a lucrative job in a non-profit funded by millions from Obama friend Warren Buffett and possibly Buffett friend Bill Gates.
After all, the seat is "a fucking valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing." He thought wistfully about being named an ambassador. He lusts to be named Secretary of Energy--"the one (cabinet post) that makes the most money." But Health and Human Services Secretary would be acceptable.
Still, he was grounded enough to realize these posts were beyond his grasp because of all the bad publicity he's had.
He had a fall-back position: The governor said if he couldn't get what he wanted he might just appoint himself to the Senate--and lord knows he may even do that while out on bond. "Unless I get something real good (from Obama's alleged choice), shit, I'll just send myself..."
And he wanted the Tribune--in exchange for assisting in the sale of Wrigley Field-- to fire editorial writers who called for him to be impeached. "Fire those fuckers," Blago urged.
The Blagojevich governorship seems to have been fueled by arrogance, an incredible sense of entitlement and a manic high with a cloak of invincibility.
Illinois and Chicago politics has a reputation for being rough and tumble. And we may lead the nation in political corruption, with George Ryan, Blago's immediate predecessor, serving time in a federal pen and praying for a pardon. (Could Blago have ruined George's chance for a pardon? Could the two end up in prison together? Would Blago be George's bitch? Inquiring minds want to know.)
Over the past 35 years two other former governors in my lifetime, Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, went to prison.
What is it about that job? Do we really get the leadership we deserve?
A friend of mine, who has fought corruption in prisons here, grew up in Wisconsin. The way she tells it, God lives in Wisconsin, vacations in Minnesota and never comes to Illinois. Maybe so.