Time Out Chicago has perhaps the best side-story yet on the Rod Blagojevich scandal, and it involves former President Richard Nixon. This time there is more than just a tape recording to validate the story. There is a photo of the younger Blagojevich with his trademark hair style standing next to RN during an autograph signing. Really quite a remarkable alignment. And as Time Out Chicago reports Blagojevich might be a RN groupie. Amazing story.
I believe it was Charles Barkley who said, “I’m no role model.”
It’s the same advice Richard M. Nixon should’ve given an impressionable Rod Blagojevich when the two met briefly outside Nixon’s New York home in 1980. Nixon, of course, had already been shamed and destroyed by the Watergate scandal, yet the young Blagojevich insisted he and his traveling buddy, who snapped the above photo (it briefly appeared in a WTTW profile about Blagojevich after he was elected), wait vigilantly for the former president.
In 1980, most twentysomething men probably pined to bump into one of the Beatles or maybe Bo Derek; Blago wanted the autograph of our nation’s most notorious politician. Knowing this is like being handed the lost first chapter of The Blagojevich Saga after reading three-quarters of the way through: You’re already up to your eyeballs in drama, but everything that transpired thus far now rings truer— The taped conversations! The threats during taped conversations! The swearing during taped conversations!
Blagojevich himself acknowledged the Nixonian quandary he’s in. “Those who feel like they want to sneakily and wear taping devices,” he said during a press conference the day before his arrest, “I would remind them that it kind of smells like Nixon and Watergate.”
You now have to wonder whether he said that with some amount of pride.
If Blagojevich did set about modeling himself after Nixon, he’s most of the way there. Like his jowly political hero, Blago’s not going down without a fight. Tricky Dick didn’t resign until after the House Judiciary Committee had approved the articles of impeachment and Nixon was certain he would lose the House vote and the subsequent Senate trial.