It seems like former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just won’t go away. For cable television and Sunday morning political pundits and Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, David Letterman and Jon Stewart, he continues to be the gift that keeps giving. But, Blagojevich’s latest foray may have a deeper meaning for Illinois voters.
AP Photos of Rod Blagojevich and Donald Trump
This week, Donald Trump announced that Blagojevich will be a contestant on the “Celebrity Apprentice” reality television show. It appears the impeached politician has finally achieved another of his goals.
In 2009, he unsuccessfully tried to appear on another reality television show, “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.” He was spared from further ridicule and shame because the judge presiding over his soon-to-come-to-trial criminal case refused to let him go to Costa Rica to be on the program. Blagojevich was replaced, somewhat admirably, by his wife Patti – who nearly won. Ironically, this Trump thing could cause another indictment, this time on the decision-making skills of Illinois voters.
Some of Blagojevich’s competitors will be David Adkins (aka the comedian Sinbad), former baseball player/felon/drug addict Darryl Strawberry, pop music icon Cyndi Lauper of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “She-Bop” fame and rock n roll’s Prince of Darkness’ better half, Sharon Osbourne. Will America like Blagojevich more than his co-stars? Will Trump decide that they are more capable than Blagojevich? If so, what would that mean?
To put it in context, in 2002, Illinois picked Blagojevich to become governor over former Attorney General Jim Ryan and nationally respected, public education reformer Paul Vallas. In another bit of irony, Ryan is cruising to the GOP nomination for governor again and leads incumbent Governor Pat Quinn in the latest Rasmussen Report poll. But, Ryan couldn’t beat Blagojevich. Also, remember that after serving an initial term, Illinois picked Blagojevich again over then Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.
In a weird way, it may reflect better on Illinois if Blagojevich isn’t fired by Trump. Will America and Trump see in Blagojevich what Illinoisans did – twice.? Or, will they really see Blagojevich? If that happens, Illinoisans better be prepared to once again be fodder for Stewart, Letterman, Leno and O’Brien for a while. Who knows, maybe Tina Fey can don an Elvis wig and boost Saturday Night Live’s ratings too?
The real lesson is Illinoisans need to really read, listen and analyze this time before we go to the polls. We don’t want to become laughing stocks again.