Thursday, March 26, 2009

Novice Blagojevich spews political propaganda in his initial talk show rant

I didn’t bother to listen to the inaugural radio performance by Rod Blagojevich when he did his part to desecrate the portion of the airwaves once populated by Larry Lujack and Lil’ Tommy.

That doesn’t mean I don’t know what the now-impeached governor of Illinois had to say. It was all so predictable.

HE USED THE 50,000-watt powerhouse of the Midwestern U.S. to once again try to portray himself as the good guy who would have been looking out for the interests of the taxpayers – had the Illinois Legislature not gone so far as to boot him from the Statehouse office he so rarely set foot in during his six years in office.

I just didn’t want to hear it. Not only that, but I have generally found talk radio to be the bastion of people with way too much time on their hands.

I can’t help but think that this description applies to anyone who seriously spent time listening to what Ramblin’ Rod had to say.

I may go so far as to read the book Blagojevich eventually has published, but that has the advantage of being something I will read once – then put aside and possibly never think about again.

TO LISTEN TO Blagojevich on the radio means giving a commitment of time. There are people who gave up a couple hours of their life; two hours they will never get back.

And if Blagojevich turns his one-time fill-in role on Wednesday (for Don Wade and Roma, two other radio types to whom I pay little attention) into a permanent gig, he will be asking the public to give him regular commitments of their time.

All I know is that the Rod Blagojevich I knew in the mid-1990s who was a state legislator from the Ravenswood and Lincoln Square neighborhoods was barely interesting enough to sustain an occasional interview of about two minutes length.

Even though he has since served in Congress and as governor, I doubt his intellectual capacity has developed so much that his thoughts on the great issues will be worth hearing.

AFTER ALL, THIS is the guy who openly admitted to being lucky to get “C’s” in college. If we seriously believe that Barack Obama represents one extreme of the intellectual capacity of the modern-day politico, then Blagojevich has to be considered the other end of the spectrum.

How long can we listen to rhetoric such as, “I was hijacked from office,” and, “it was a political fix and I predicted that” before it becomes stale and un-listenable?

In fact, about the only hope for Blagojevich to become a successful radio talk show host is if he turns himself into a serious political pundit. If a one-time governor who also has been a member of the Illinois Legislature and Congress (and who married into a family with strong City Hall ties) were to be willing to use his first-hand knowledge of electoral politics “the Chicago Way” to educate the public about the way things really work, then his radio program would become “must listening” for political observers and other people who want a better comprehension of public affairs.

The fact that Blagojevich on Wednesday used a portion of his radio “audition” to criticize Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal to boost the state income tax is a step in the right direction.

IN FACT, BLAGOJEVICH isn’t totally absurd when he says things like it being the worst thing Illinois could do to small business owners to even think of raising that tax. He may even be correct in saying he was “hijacked” from office.

The problem is that nobody cares. Blagojevich suffers from the bloated (even by the standards of those people who think highly enough of themselves to run for elective office) ego so much that any full-time radio gig for him would ultimately devolve into little more than a commercial for his book.

It could turn out that giving Blagojevich so much airtime to advertise himself could have a negative effect in terms of his book sales. Will we feel like we’ve already heard everything Milorod has to say without reading all about it again?

And how long before it would wind up hurting the ratings of whatever radio station ultimately decides to take him on?

FOR EVEN IF WLS-AM decides against giving him a regular slot on the air, there’s always the chance some other radio station decides to take him on out of hope the quick shot in the ratings helps boost their overall profitability.

I only hope that whatever station hires Blagojevich gives him a limited slot – perhaps one day a week. I accept that someone will be depraved enough to hire him, regardless of what contempt for the idea I may express in this commentary.

But for Wednesday, we got to hear him at the radio station named for the World’s Largest Store. While I realize WLS went on its crackpot talk radio format several years ago, I can’t help but wonder how much of a stain was put on the legacy of the station that now bills itself as “the Big 89?”

I honestly believe WLS was giving us more worthwhile programming back in the days when they featured “Animal Stories” and people called in to try to win “Supertramp” concert tickets, compared to anything that was said on Wednesday.


EDITOR’S NOTES: I “read all about it” when trying to learn exactly what ( Rod Blagojevich had to say. I don’t think I missed much.

For those of you who absolutely feel the need to hear Milorod for yourself, WLS’ website has preserved ( the program – for the time being.

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