"Celebrating" Today's Effing Golden Blagoversary
By Karl Klockars in News on Dec 9, 2009 8:00PM
Has there ever been a year more filled with political turmoil, more highs and lows, more twists and turns for major Illinois public servants than 2009? If you only consider the impeachment of our Governor, Rod Blagojevich, transposed against the inauguration of Illinois Senator Barack Obama as President of the United States, it would already be a banner year of peaks and valleys for the Land of Lincoln. But we all know there's been plenty more along the way than just that. You've gasped along with us at the arrest of our Governor for a myriad of charges, and you shook your head in awe as "I've got this thing and it's fucking golden" entered the lexicon of political and popular culture for years to come. We all tried to comprehend the appointment of Roland Burris. We wondered what was behind the suicide of Christopher Kelly.
We followed the media blitzes, we kinda learned to appreciate his wife Patti (but only in comparison to Janice Dickinson) on reality television, and the copy editor in all of us vomited a little in our mouths as we poked through Blago's book. And of course, we've all basically forgotten that he's on the radio 3 hours every weekend as well.
After the jump, we'll look back at some of our coverage over the past 12 months of mirth, fellowship, joy and wonder at the epic tragedy that is Milorad Blagojevich, but first off, Rich Miller of Capitol Fax has kindly assembled an excellent retrospective of coverage of Blago over the past 365 days. Watch and enjoy and then follow along as we take a look back at the last year of pathos:
Let's start by looking back at our Rod Blagojevich Death Pool, posted all the way back in April of '08:
With his enemies waiting in the wings, and federal prosecutors seemingly closing in, now seems like as good a time as any to start our Rod Blagojevich Political Death Pool. In the comments below, write the date you think Blago will go down and why....Good ways the governor might go down include, but aren't limited to:
Losing an election and general idiocy don't count.
That "Death" Pool finally had a date to point to, which of course was December 8th, 2008, bright and early as federal agents brought our Governor in under arrest for crimes relating to corruption and attempting to sell the Senate seat which formerly belonged to then President-Elect Obama. From the post that heralded his arrest:
Could this be the end for Blago? The Trib is citing unnamed sources as saying Governor Blagojevich has been taken into federal custody at his Chicago home. Holy crap. Spokesman Lucio Guerrero responded to an inquiry by saying, "Haven't heard anything -- you are first to call." ...For anyone wondering, Blagojevich is still Governor of Illinois. He has not resigned nor been incapacitated as Governor so Blago is still driving this here truck off the cliff.
The complaint against Blagojevich and John Harris was released after a press conference from Patrick Fitzgerald, who outlined the case against the governor and described the corruption as being so widespread that it "would make Lincoln roll over in his grave." Whether or not that was appropriate for an official to make such a statement we'll leave up to you - but you can relive the presentation here.
We poked through the complaint that morning and afternoon and quoted some of the highlights, including the now-famous "fucking golden" line as well as his penchant for "parachuting:"
In regards to the Senate seat, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” (pg 59)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to "suck it up" for two years and do nothing and give this "motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him." (pg 63)
Between all the time spent wondering what the hell we had done to ourselves, we had to have a little fun with the situation. We lego'ed the story. We South Parked some of our state legislators and conspirators. We enjoyed everyone's artistic interpretations of Blago-related images. And of course, we had our own take on that "parachuting" idea.
Time stopped for an afternoon at the end of January of this year as Blago made a dramatic return to Springfield to plead his case in front of the state legislature. After spending days selling himself to any press outlet who would listen, we collectively tried to heal our livers after enjoying the Chicagoist Blago Media Blitz Drinking Game.
After claiming he wasn't interested in facing down his accusers, he changed direction and decided to make one last stand. We live-Blago'ed the speech, and enjoyed every second of it:
11:53 - "I'm sorry for pushing and prodding too much sometimes." That's what she said. Sorry, couldn't resist.
11:52 - "I did not resign then, I am not resigning now." The senators you're addressing are about to save you that trouble.
11:50 - "If it could happen to me, it could happen to you." Uh, I think all those Senators have learned a valuable lesson from you, Blago. Meet in person and talk in code.
11:48 - "Impeachments are rare...you don't just throw the will of the people..." Given Blago's approval ratings, we're pretty sure the will of the people is impeachment. And as for precedence, well, that was already set for Governors of Illinois.
After much hemming and hawing, after we all got sick of hearing that the trial wasn't fair, that no evidence was allowed in, that he didn't get to present his side, the Illinois legislature booted his ass out of office by a vote of 59-0 and then voted to keep him from ever being so much as a dogcatcher in the state of Illinois. As we said on January 29th, "So long, Rod, and don't let the door hit you on the way out."
And then that evening we were on hand to get our first glimpse of Mister, rather than Governor Blagojevich, where we asked the question:
When you get impeached and removed from the highest office in the state, get sent away from the state's Capitol building in disgrace, and come home to a wife who ditched you in your nationwide press junket - do you voluntarily sleep on the couch? Or does your wife bust your balls for a few hours, and then you sleep on the couch anyways?
From those great heights, the year paraded on with one Blaglorious moment after another. Remember when we tried to figure out who'd be taking Obama's senate seat? Way off on that one, huh? It was actually Mr. Burris going to Washington and becoming The Lord's Senator, facing endless speculation about how his son got a state job, about how he wrangled his senate appointment, about possible perjury and campaign contributions and that whole mausoleum thing.
And of course, there's Patti fired, Patti trying to figure out email etiquette, on TV as a "celebrity," while Rod was everywhere else, there was the book, the radio show, the - well, you get the idea. And have you bought G-Rod a birthday present yet?
There's no way we could pack in every single glorious moment of The Fall of Mr. Blagojevich, so if there's something that you particularly enjoyed or were horrified by, feel free to join us in a group therapy session in the comments. Your perspective and input over the past year (which you can also view in the posts above) have helped us shape the story as it happened, and we're glad you have joined us for the ride.