Thursday, April 16, 2009

How low will Milorod go?

It’s hard to say who has sunk further in the public perception.

Impeached governor Rod Blagojevich has his attorneys quibbling with federal prosecutors in order to get permission for Milorod to leave the country so he can participate in a “reality” television show.

OFFICIALS WITH THE show would dump him and eight other so-called celebrities into a jungle in Costa Rica – then see how many can pick up survival skills to make it out in one piece.

Among the other eight celebs is Nancy Kerrigan, the one-time Olympic skater whom most people remember for her getting her kneecap bashed by friends of rival skater Tonya Harding.

I’d be inclined to say that Blagojevich has sunk lower – he’s reduced to being comic relief on a television show. People will get to ponder how anyone could come up with such a pompous pompadour while he tries to use a machete without cutting his own hand off.

But you could make an argument that Kerrigan has it worse, since it seems the only gig she can get these days is one that pairs her up with our ex-governor Milorod.

TO DATE, I have gone out of my way to avoid watching Blagojevich’s more trivial attempts to sway the American people that he is an honest guy who was set up by prosecutors and picked upon by his Illinois political colleagues.

Other than seeing a couple of minutes of Blagojevich with David Letterman, I have only heard about how Rod is making a spectacle of himself.

And usually, I go out of my way to avoid watching anything billed as a “reality” television show, because I find the situations that the participants are put into to be about as far removed from reality as one can get.

Seriously, we’re supposed to believe Blagojevich trapped in a Central American jungle with an Olympic ice skater?

BUT THERE IS a part of me that hopes U.S. District Judge James Zagel winds up granting Blagojevich the court order that would permit him to leave the country so he could participate in the creation of “I’m a celebrity. Get me out of here!”

And it is because I could see the parallels between Blagojevich’s attempt at reality television, and that tacky sitcom from the 1960s, “Gilligan’s Island.”

We could debate for decades whether Kerrigan is better suited to be Mary Ann or Ginger. But in my mind, there is no doubt Blagojevich himself would be Gilligan – the goofy character portrayed by Bob Denver whose ineptness at just about everything prolonged that group’s stay on that deserted tropical island.

Couldn’t you just picture Blagojevich trying to portray himself as somehow hipper than thou with all that Elvis dreck, only to wind up getting blamed by the group for everything that goes wrong?

AND PERSONALLY, I have the perfect ending. How about replacing Kerrigan with Harding? Perhaps she’d be more than willing to take out one of Milorod’s kneecaps. It would certainly be more dignified than some of the stunts she has engaged in throughout the years in order to earn a buck.

Ultimately, that is what this is all about for Blagojevich – the money.

He will have the potential to be paid $80,000 per episode. There’s always the chance that his colleagues on the show will shorten his payday by making him the first person they “vote off the island,” so to speak.

But if he can last for a few episodes, he might very well make enough of a stash of cash that his attorneys can relax about the concept of their work for him turning out to be pro bono.

SERIOUSLY, WITH THE way that federal prosecutors are determined to claim that Blagojevich’s very existence in Illinois is a criminal act, they are going to find a way to confiscate every penny of the couple of million dollars he had remaining in his campaign fund.

If that winds up being declared as the “ill-gotten gains” of a criminal lifestyle, there’s little other chance that he would have any money to pay any attorneys – no matter how cheap they’d be willing to work.

Most people put in positions of having to defend themselves against government corruption charges usually wind up having to put their houses up for collateral to get a loan to pay the attorneys. I still remember one-time Illinois Treasurer Jerry Cosentino lost his house as the compromise for legal representation that kept him out of prison (he lived his final years of life with his daughter).

But the feds also have said they want to seize the Ravenswood neighborhood residence that the Blagojevich family calls home. So even that option is cut off to him.

ANYBODY WILLING TO represent Blagojevich is going to want top dollar just because they will be putting up with his massive ego.

How many other people would be willing to put up with a client who undermines their efforts to portray him as a serious public official by trotting off to the Costa Rica jungles?

Blagojevich isat the point where he will do anything for money, although it won’t shock me if the federal prosecutors try to find a way to confiscate any cash he gets from appearing on the television program.


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