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January 29, 2009

Blago’s Last Day

Blago Last Day.jpg

1. Curtains for Elvis.

2. Lost the stare-off with honest Abe.

3. The sole thing’s been done already.

4. Reduced to graph paper.

5. Revisionist history.

6. Portrait of the child.

From: Blagojevich Has His Final Say, Making Day of It (NYT)

(image: Amanda Rivkin for The New York Times. January 29, 2009. caption: Rod R. Blagojevich readying his defense for Illinois legislators on Thursday, before both he and Elvis left the building.)

  • Lex

    What’s going on with Elvis in the background?

  • Alan Chin

    I really like this guy, he took it and gave as good as he got. Not like an Eliot Spitzer who went down far more ridiculously and without a single shot fired back at his accusers. Blagojevich, frankly, on balance was probably no more corrupt than any number of luckier politicians. But like Spitzer, he had made too many enemies and not enough friends. So when the going got tough, they abandoned him and hung him out. Which he no doubt deserved. But it was good to see him fight back with a certain panache, that even his detractors had to admit showed spunk and sportsmanship. Visually, his haircut I think hurt him a lot. No one could accept that someone with such bad hair could possibly, actually, be a good guy. If he looked like a JFK (or a Bill Clinton), he may have had an easier time of it.

  • richard dent

    He was entertaining, but I can’t work up any “like” for this crudely corrupt guy. Sure, others got away with worse, but so what? And Spitzer, although cold, had actually accomplished some good things in his years of public service.

  • the littlest gator

    I will be happy to put the blago story to rest.

  • steve

    I agree with AC, I like this guy, he’s like the Homer (Simpson) of politics. A lovable idoit. Altho with that hair perhaps he should be Marge. Either way, good entertainment.
    4. Graph paper, ya – check how he doesn’t respect the grid, writing ascending.
    I like graph paper too. Elvis, not so much.

  • creditking

    Just as Elvis had his comeback, we haven’t seen the last of Blago. He’ll find something that will resonate with his base. Blago versus Palin in 2016 – what a matchup!

  • d.scant’r

    Re presentingThePeanutCorps.ofAmerica

  • yg

    why graph paper? it’s not like he’s an engineer or drafter. can anybody make out what’s written on them?
    he reminds of robert blake, during his barreta years.
    the ridged sole is interesting. i don’t know if his sneakers are the same but i wondered how he didn’t slip on the ice while jogging. didn’t strike me as very common sensical. i mean, who jogs in the snow? what, he couldn’t fit the press into the y?
    the worried look on his face doesn’t match the casual pose of having his foot on the desk.
    his resorting to populist shtick as a form of defense is so cynical, e.g. “i support good things, ergo, i’m a good guy,” i just hope it doesn’t taint populist issues themselves.
    as pundits have noted, his pr campaign is intended to influence perspective jurors. former ohio congressman traficant, mr. “beam me up, scotty” was able to pull it off. traficant was able to escape his first corruption charges, in a trial where he acted his own lawyer. jurors were so charmed by his eccentricity that they let him off.
    what’s particularly despicable is how often he’s mentioned his two kids. he not above exploiting his own children. he’s mentioned them so often, now i’m worried about them. what are they going to do with two parents out of work? i imagine future jurors wondering the same thing.

  • Karen H.

    Very interesting catch on the petulant child nature of his aspect. I think that nails it.

  • Ursula L

    Given the recent publicity of the shoe-thrower, the foot on the desk, sole of shoe to the camera conveys an extra dose of contempt. Combined with the childish, pouty look, this is the image of someone who is petulant and selfish, with contempt for the voters and citizens who expected good governance and integrity. The notes, scrawled as they are, give the impression of little thought or effort. The statue of Elvis, in the otherwise formal office, is out of place, and again conveys a lack of respect for the seriousness of the office and obligation. And the picture over Blago’s shoulder (himself with a small child?) is the sort of thing that does fit the formal office scene, reminding one of the pretense of appropriateness he tried to maintain.

  • Pegleg

    His actions elicit two dueling responses from me: First response is just cynical disdain for a man who is/was totally corrupted by power (or perhaps he was always corrupt) and believes he can lie to our faces and get away with it even when caught red-handed. Who are we going to believe? Him or our lying eyes/ears? The other response is pity. Here is an intelligent human being with real potential, but it’s completely wasted. He seems completely out of touch with reality and he is either an amazing actor or he is seriously mentally ill.

  • Megan

    A little boy, shrunk down in his seat ’cause he’s getting a scolding.

  • Susan Abe

    The sole says to me that he was trying to get traction on thin air.
    I’m trying to feel the posture that would include the foot and the set of the shoulders, and I get a twisted gut. Unsuccessful attempt to fake composure.

  • stevelaudig

    Blago as a cat?
    Or better, as the duchess:
    and just as disconnected.
    But he does see the “big picture”. I rather liked this quote as a summing of the situations of “Number Ones”: “You got no fuckin’ idea what it’s like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fucking thing.”
    Sorry can’t source it.
    Which reminds me of a scene from Miller’s Crossing. Tom is talking to Johnny Caspar in the middle of a gang war in which Caspar is, if only temporarily, “running things” and talking about the current state of play.
    TOM: “I’d worry a lot less if I thought you wre worrying enough.” [distant explosion]
    CASPAR: [looking exhausted] “… But I am, kid. ..Christ… running things….”

  • desertwind

    This photo deserves a Pulitzer!
    Funny… I put it as a computer screen saver today & didn’t realize my husband was gradually making Blago’s head bigger & bigger until I finally remarked to hubby: Man, that guy has a BIG head!
    It would all be that much funnier if he were a Republican.

  • jean

    What Alan Chin said.
    And: ‘Let s/he who is without sin, (i.e. pay-go) cast the first vote’. What a bunch of hypocrites. This guy put up a great fight, he was no more corrupt than the next guy and a lot of Chicagoans really liked him. He apparently did quite a bit for Chicago and Illinois that went unnoticed. The Illinois legislature won’t police themselves, so this is what happens. I don’t LIKE the guy, but I was rooting for him. The deliberate mis-quoting and snickering by the MSM, even by Rachel Maddow, really turned my stomach. Maddow finally had an honest interview with a local Chicago reporter/columnist on the eve of the impeachment, which shed some real light on the whole mess. It retrieved her reputation in my opinion, but just barely.
    And yeah, Fighting Elliot Spitzer went down without a whimper.

  • d creed

    i thought that one of the most salient aspects of the picture was the pattern of his shoe soles; the pattern immediately reminded me of a rolling tire, or tire tread (‘thrown under the bus’?) with blago staring it down.

  • thebewilderness

    Wouldn’t you know he would have a pic of his own self on his desk, and wouldn’t you know the photographer made sure we could see it.

  • the short one

    Caught in a momentary trance state, escaping from the scrawled over sheet of paper in his hands. Paused halfway between a Zen moment and the faint drumbeat offstage of the enexorable march to his own future end.

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