The worst part here isn’t Blago’s wife kissing Trump’s ass in the expectation that he was watching live, as he often does with Jeanine Pirro’s show. Any spouse might do the same for a loved one who’s behind bars and has reason to believe that a pardon might be in the offing if only the king’s greatness is proclaimed with enough enthusiasm.
The worst part is the chumminess she receives from right-wing populist firebreather Pirro (a former DA!), who has zero reason to entertain this plea with anything but contempt apart for the fact that His Majesty has publicly taken an interest in Blagojevich’s fate for weird reason. A few reminders about Blago:
1. He was impeached as governor on a bipartisan 114-1 vote in the Illinois House.
2. He was removed from office on a unanimous 59-0 vote by the Illinois Senate.
3. He was convicted on 17 separate counts in federal court and sentenced to 14 years.
He’s also a Democrat, of course, but even if he were a Republican and a Democrat like Obama had pardoned him, the right would have ripped the White House for rewarding a corrupt state pol with clemency when there are so many more deserving candidates. For all of the foregoing reasons, this guy should be kryptonite to a Republican president who got elected promising to drain the swamp and stick up for the little guy. To the extent that Trump ever mentions Blagojevich, it should be to use him as an object lesson on how American politics is a garbage dump that desperately needs reform. Instead Blago’s getting the full state-media treatment here by one of the president’s most loyal cronies. Why?
It’s because he has two important things going for him. He has a celebrity connection via his stint on “Celebrity Apprentice” years ago and celebrity connections are very important right now, notes John Ziegler:
Trump views humanity through the prism that there are two basic groups of people: the rich and/or famous, and everyone else. The first group matters greatly to him, the second means almost nothing.
So, when evaluating the merits of a particular pardon, the facts/logic/justice have almost nothing to do with how much weight he gives to the case. It is the wattage of Stallone and Kardashian’s celebrity which is far more significant. We are now living in a world where it is far more important to have a celebrity take up your cause than for your cause to be just, and Trump is perfectly fine with that.
Of course he is. A just cause doesn’t flatter his ego; famous people sucking up to him does. Patti Blagojevich is no dummy seeking out not just an appearance on Fox News but an appearance on Pirro’s show in particular, as the world knows that that’s one of the three to which Trump pays special attention. (“Fox & Friends” and “Hannity” are the others, of course.) Her making the case on television, America’s midwife to fame, gives Blago more of a celebrity patina and Mrs. Blago knows it. The fact that the country’s “right-wing” cable network is willing to provide a platform for her to do it makes zero sense except for the fact that Trump himself had already mentioned his case recently and “right-wing” now basically means “whatever Trump wants.”
The other thing Blagojevich has going for him is that he was sent to prison by Patrick Fitzgerald, the same man who prosecuted Trump pardon recipient Scooter Libby and who now serves as James Comey’s lawyer. Theories have been kicked around since last week’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza as to what Trump’s trying to do strategically with these acts of clemency; I floated a few theories myself here. But in this case I don’t think the reasoning is even as complex as “He’s signaling that we should never trust prosecutions of politicians, just in case Mueller tries to charge him with something.” I think his motive is to spite Fitzgerald and, by extension, Comey, overlooking the fact that clemency for Blagojevich would make Trump himself look far shadier than sending him to the clink did to Fitzgerald.
Patricia Blagojevich: "Our system of government [has] a system of checks and balances for a reason, and sometimes the courts and these prosecutors get it wrong…and it takes a strong leader like President @realDonaldTrump to right those wrongs." @JudgeJeanine pic.twitter.com/idKVzJhjd0
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 3, 2018