Lawmaker-turned-dancing machine Tom Delay astutely pointed out that politics is showbiz. And few politicians have mastered the fine art more than Rod Blagojevich, who at once relishes in and scorns the spotlight. He is, simply, the Joker of media gaming.
Like many fallen legislators before him, Mr. Blago has put pen to paper to produce a tome, entitled The Governor. The title alone says it all: here's a man who's astonishing God complex knows no bounds, especially when it comes to playing the media.
From day one, he has courted the press and used various airwaves, interwebs and channels to plead his case: "I did nothing wrong." But now that his book's been released, his true colors come out. So he writes about his first appearance before a judge:
As expected, the courtroom was packed with the media. These are the kinds of things they just love. Good news; forget about it...
This was going to be a great day for them. This is what they live for. The misfortune of others is a mother lode of fortune for them. And in a mad dash to write about the bad news, they're so busy tripping over each other and trying not to get scooped by the competition that the search for the truth is a casualty. It's collateral damage.
It's a rat race out there. It's a rush. It's a rush to beat the competition. It's a rush to sell newspapers. It's a rush to judgment! Screw the truth. Edward R. Murrow would roll over in his grave.
Indeed he would. Blago also suggests that the newspaper industry's taste for tabloid blood "undermines" democracy, or some shit. Because, you know, "allegedly" trying to sell a Senate seat helps further the cause. But, as with all things Blago, this must all be taken with a grain of salt, for his clear disregard for reality borders on pathological.
Today, in an interview about the damning FBI transcripts, Blago claims the comments were "taken out of context," such as his remark that he wants "to make money" and won't give up the seat for "nothing."
Blago views the media as nothing more than a stage on which he can act out a nearly primal play about the deficiencies of news-making and, in fact, the political world as a whole. He knew news folk would latch onto his story, a move that both gave him room to grow his ego and simultaneously mind-fuck the nation by pulling the strings like a puppet master who's not only in on the joke, but wrote it himself. (The most definitive proof, we think, came when he made a bid for a reality program that automatically assumes one's "celebrity" status.)
Sadly, all this pain and sorrow hasn't helped book sales. The Governor is only 5,519 on Amazon's entire book list. Not too shabby, no, but certainly not what he expected, we're sure. Maybe the next act will be better.