John Cullerton


I’m officially sick and tired of Rod Blagojevich.

Like a good, dedicated blogger, I’ll continue to write about the former Illinois governor because that’s my job. (It’s an unpaid job, but I consider keeping my readers up-to-date about Blagojevich’s latest shenanigans an implicit agreement I promised you.) But let’s be clear: Rod Blagojevich is a corrupt, hypocritical, lying, narcissistic, self-important, self-serving, state-screwing, failed politician who doesn’t know when to shut up.

Blagojevich was back on WLS 890 AM for two hours Sunday afternoon (and will be again next Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.) as a fill-in host, and this time I think he went too far in criticizing his former political colleagues. It’s not that Illinois politicians don’t deserve criticism — plenty of them do. But Blagojevich calling them out on the carpet is like the pot calling the kettle black — especially when he is criticizing them about how they’re handling the financial mess he helped make as bad as it is.

Here is the gist of Sunday’s Blago show, as reported by ABC7 News (WLS-TV):

Blagojevich spent a couple of hours moderating a call-in show on WLS Radio. He said self-righteous and hypocritical politicians unlawfully removed him from office. He also called the governor and the leaders of the House and the Senate an “unholy Trinity,” and he was especially critical of Governor Quinn.

“I was hijacked from office. My successor, who broke his promise to the people and proposed a 50 percent income tax increase, just brought us 45,000 video poker machines,” said Blagojevich. “In less than six months, Pat Quinn has really stuck it to the average working person.”

“I watch what some of these phony politicians are doing to you, politicians who never were elected by you,” Blagojevich also said. “Our governor Pat Quinn never got a single vote to be governor. Mike Madigan, the speaker of the House, never got a single vote statewide from the people to make the decisions he’s making, and our new Senate President, John Cullerton, never received the votes of the people across Illinois.”

Blagojevich challenged Quinn to a debate and he said a change in his defense team would be announced in the coming week.

Here’s how Blagojevich threw down the debate gauntlet: “C’mon, Pat Quinn, you’re now the governor of Illinois, come on over here and spend at least an hour with me and you and I can discuss what you just did to the people of Illinois.”

After all that he did to this state’s reputation and financial standing, how dare Blagojevich take shots at Quinn?

As for the state’s budget woes, Blagojevich said if he was still in charge, he would reduce administrative costs, privatize the Illinois Lottery and close corporate tax loopholes, but not raise taxes. Of course, he made it sound like those things are easy to do. If that was the case, why didn’t he ever fix the state’s finances? Again, Blagojevich is a hypocrite.

Sadly, there are more than a few people who think the hypocrite is now an empowered voice of the people. Unfortunately, WLS Radio management appears to be among them.

After a whole week of silence from Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor resurfaced in the media Wednesday on WLS-AM’s “Don Wade and Roma Show.”

Every time Blagojevich embarks on another media blitz, he brings a new set of talking points that he repeats at each stop. This time he is accusing Springfield lawmakers of being a bunch of drunken adulterers.

“It’s a whole different world down there,” Blagojevich said. “A bunch of them are cheating on their spouses. A lot of them drink in excess. Very few of them know what’s going on. They just take their marching orders from legislative leaders, and then the legislative leaders have to do things for them to keep them happy.”

He went on to say, “People are human and they make mistakes. But cheating on your wife and sleeping with your secretary, that’s the wrong thing to do.”

Blagojevich is right. That is the wrong thing to do. Some other wrong things to do include lying, excessively wasting taxpayer dollars, attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, trying to withhold funding for sick children until a hospital executive makes a campaign contribution, and playing the race card at inappropriate times.

Blagojevich also disparaged his state senator, Senate President John Cullerton, for driving “around the neighborhood in a Jaguar.” He said Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan “have been part of an effort to to prevent property tax relief for homeowners.”

The self-proclaimed “voice for the people” summarized his point thusly: “And, again, it’s the average guy in the neighborhood who’s getting screwed as they drive around, you know, working neighborhoods in Jaguars pretending to be on the side of the people.”

Much like when Blagojevich pretended to be on the side of the people as he regularly flew from Chicago to Springfield on a taxpayer-funded, state-owned airplane anytime he needed to do business in the state capital, because he refused to live in the Executive Mansion in Springfield so he could stay near the Chicago political machine that built him. It was the average guy in the state who got screwed as Blagojevich flew overhead, primping his hair and thumbing his nose at the rest of us.

The sad thing is, we’re still getting screwed by Blagojevich, even after he got kicked out of office – and he reminds us every time he returns to the airwaves.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is at it again.

Five days after the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to remove him from office, Blagojevich today started his second national TV media blitz, beginning this morning on NBC’s “Today” show.

“It was an unlawful and improper impeachment,” Blagojevich told interviewer Meredith Vieira. “So I don’t view myself at all as being shamed or disgraced. … But they did a disservice to the people of Illinois and the people across America.”

The way I see it, the disservice done to the people of Illinois is that legislators didn’t impeach this corrupt clown earlier. It also was a disservice for so many Democrats to publicly support and defend Blagojevich until he became too much of a political liability after his Dec. 9 arrest on political corruption charges. Blagojevich made a good point last week when he questioned why he wasn’t impeached earlier for political crimes he committed during his first term as governor but weren’t brought against him until last month, two years into his second term.

Making a good point about the timing of his impeachment does not excuse Blagojevich’s corruption. But I want to share a quote from his successor, Gov. Pat Quinn, made during the 2006 campaign: “In all my interactions with him, I’ve found him to be an honest person.” Blagojevich was already under investigation at that point and had already committed some of the political crimes cited against him in his impeachment trial, yet Quinn found him to be “honest.” I am skeptical that Quinn knew nothing of his two-time running mate’s questionable behavior, and therefore I question the new governor’s squeaky-clean image. He may not have known the worst of Blagojevich’s alleged transgressions until they were revealed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, but that doesn’t excuse him for ignoring Blagojevich’s abuse of power in order to get re-elected as lieutenant governor.

Quinn wasn’t the only top Democrat to conveniently ignore Blagojevich’s transgressions, some of which were well known before the 2006 gubernatorial election. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton endorsed Blagojevich for re-election. In fact, Madigan was engaged in a well-documented, long-running feud with Blagojevich, yet co-chaired the governor’s re-election committee. Maybe Blagojevich can return the favor later by co-chairing the presumed gubernatorial campaign of Madigan’s daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

The point I’m trying to make is this: If you watch Blagojevich continue repeating his same talking points to Larry King, Greta Van Susteren and David Letterman tonight, keep in mind that the Blagojevich conversation would be much more complete if we heard politicians like Quinn, Cullerton and Michael Madigan tell us why they ignored the warning signs of corruption even after they became apparent.

And when they are done giving their excuses – if they ever have the guts to do so – they should apologize to Illinois residents for intentionally misleading them about Blagojevich until it suited their purposes to do otherwise.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton just said that Gov. Rod Blagojevich will appear in his own defense at his impeachment trial tomorrow. Blagojevich will not take questions from senators, but a rebuttal against his closing argument will be allowed.

The surprise announcement comes just hours after Cullerton told reporters the governor should come to the Capitol to defend himself rather than continue his national media blitz in New York. Cullerton made the comment during a break in the trial earlier today.

Blagojevich is a former prosecutor, so surely he knows how to make an impassioned closing argument. However, I suspect it will be a monologue filled with the same half-truths he keeps repeating in front of the television cameras.

I’d also like to point out that the Senate could have denied Blagojevich’s appearance since the governor ignored previous deadlines to submit witness names. But contrary to Blagojevich’s claims, the Senate is conducting a fair impeachment trial.

The trial should be must-see TV for Illinois residents tomorrow.