After all, he insists, he wouldn’t want to dishonor the memory of his father. As the mountain of shame disappears into the clouds, Tapper wonders if there isn’t something darker going on here than routine corruptocrat egotism and venality. So does the Sun-Times, which has taken to polling readers on whether Blago’s full-blown nuts. Not the first time that theory’s been advanced, per a Chicago Magazine profile from earlier this year:
The governor’s strange behavior has been fertile ground for local armchair psychologists. Last summer, the downstate newspaper the Peoria Journal Star declared that the governor was “going bonkers.” Privately, a few people who know the governor describe him as a “sociopath,” and they insist they’re not using hyperbole. State representative Joe Lyons, a fellow Democrat from Chicago, told reporters that Blagojevich was a “madman” and “insane.” “He shows absolutely no remorse,” says Jack Franks, the Democratic state representative. “I don’t think he gives a damn about anybody else’s feelings. He tries to demonize people who disagree with him; he’s got delusions of grandeur.”
That was published in February, when the feds’ noose was already tightening; months later, the FBI recorded him mulling a presidential run in 2016. Nuance.
Meanwhile, looks like we’ve reached the point of the news cycle where conventional wisdom has been exhausted, forcing pundits desperate for new angles to start asking whether what Blago did was really so bad. That’s a universal feature of modern political scandal. When Spitzer got caught, the debate inevitably turned to whether prostitution should be legal; when Larry Craig got busted, it became an argument about whether trolling for sex in public restrooms wasn’t in fact protected speech. I even vaguely recall a few half-hearted defenses of Mark Foley on grounds that he’d only been sending lascivious e-mails to what were, after all, teenagers of nearly legal age. (And in fact, no charges were ever filed against him.) Here’s the latest version from Forbes columnist Douglas Schoen, musing that Blagojevich’s conduct frankly isn’t all that unusual. Over to you, Fitz. Click the image to watch.