this is my liveblog of rod blagojevich's closing argument at his senate trial. it isn't very coherent, but it's the random thoughts and rants that popped into my head in response to things he said.
wow...Blagojevich just started his speach by saying that he spent the last couple days trying to "talk to as many as people as possible about my desire to be here and speak in front of you." that sounds so different from the tune he was singing two days ago. wasn't he adamant that he was NOT going to appear in front of the senate, and stick to the talk show circuit?
schoolyard justice? did he just compare the senate impeachment trial to bullies beating him up in the schoolyard?
"you heard those four tapes! i don't have to tell you what they say!" no, sir, you already did a fantastic job of telling them what the tapes say...by saying all the stuff you said on the tapes.
"how can you throw a governor out who is clamoring and begging and pleading with you to bring evidence and bring witnesses?" ummm...easy. you're not clamoring until now, when you realise that you're completely screwed. furthermore, this is not a criminal trial. this is an administrative proceeding, and not a criminal trial. you may have a constitutional right to be out of jail unless the prosecution proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but you don't have the right to be the governor.
"how can you throw someone out of office...maybe one day it'll happen to you!"...something tells me that most of these state senators listening to his speech are slightly better at covering up their corruption than you are, Guv. this probably won't happen to them, especially after having such a colossal "don't be this guy" example.
why are you talking about a conference committee, and being starstruck with old senators? why are you talking about Liz Taylor? what does this have to do with public corruption?
"i've been given legal advice by lawyers." i'm glad to know you're not taking legal advice from butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. well done.
stop talking about health care. whatever your motives behind your health care initiatives, and whatever the laudable results, you know that's not why people hate you. you are not a health care pariah. you know that's not the real reason you are going to be removed. so, stop trying to distract us by blathering for minutes on end about it--all it's going to do is get people even angrier at you for avoiding the real reasons why you have been impeached.
finally, blago makes a good point. it is bullshit that the plan to import drugs from Canada was in the articles of impeachment. that was a good idea, and that shouldn't be there. but, you don't have to belabor it. mention it and move on to the reasons that you are actually under fire.
impeaching john mccain? firing rahm emanuel? wow, you're attacking everyone today. way to turn your good point about Canadian drugs into something wacky.
stop saying "throw me out of office." you're speaking before the senate. you need to sound credible. that just sounds sloppy.
"we hired a former united states attorney as our inspector general." that doesn't necessarily make him credible. i know it's a stretch, and it's hard for you or anyone else to believe, but even some united states attorneys are bribable. maybe he was legit, and maybe he wasn't, but just saying you have an inspector general who used to be a united states attorney doesn't let you off the hook.
STOP CALLING IT A CRIME. THIS IS NOT A CRIMINAL TRIAL. THIS IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING. THE CRIMINAL TRIAL IS COMING LATER.
"there is no evidence before your body here that shows any wrongdoing." well, that's not true. for one thing, your Awful Politician Hair is before the senate. if that's not wrongdoing, i don't know what is. seriously...get a new barber, because big overblown politician hair only detracts from any shred of trustworthiness you may try to maintain.
"we've had our ups and downs...mostly ups."...i find that hard to believe. you've been under investigation since 2003. your approval rating is next to nothing. i don't think you've had very many ups since you were first elected, and the only reason you were reelected is because the republican party in illinois is in total shambles.
why are you telling a sob story about your father being a refugee? it's a good story, sure, but it's more fit for the campaign trail. your father may have been a stand-up guy with dreams and goals, but him being a good guy isn't going to save you. stop running away from this issue...it's half an hour into the speech and you still haven't done anything but bluster.
"long and hard to pronounce last names"...well, i can't say anything there. your name is long, and hard to pronounce for many people. it's refreshing to hear some truth.
"i didn't try to sell myself to the national media"...maybe you didn't do that when you were running for governor, but you still don't get to say that with a straight face when you spent the whole week trying to sell yourself to the national media. epic fail.
if you are going to tell a moving story about a local resident, make sure you get your facts right. know what she does for a living. know the neighbourhood she lives in. your irrelevant little story loses any of the impact that it may have had if every fact in the story is a list of three or four different things, because you can't remember which one is correct.
"it ain't about me"...i'd say something here, but anything i say could not add to this.
"all those articles that are not wrongdoing"...like the senate seat for sale, the thing you haven't even alluded to yet?
"there's a reason why these impeachments are very rare." yes. they almost never happen. you have to do something really, really wrong during office, and it has to be discovered while you are in office. oh, wait... O.O
"imagine other governors in other states...imagine what'll happen if i get thrown out of office."...other governors will have fair warning not to orchestrate pay-to-play over their phones. and, if you get thrown out of office, people may start to build a slight bit of respect for our state once again.
"rush to judgment" is his theme? that's the most common and boring mock trial theme ever. it's hackneyed. he should have chosen something a little more creative.
"sure, there's political embarrassment to members of my party. sure, there's some inconvenience."...congratulations, Rod. here, have a trophy for understatement of the year. if you really want it, i can make it a pizza trophy.
please, don't try to tell a sob story about seeing all the people who ostensibly voted for you. i don't actually think you're sad that you think their will is being circumvented. you're sad because you're about to be kicked out of office.
rights? civil liberties? sir, you do not have a right to be the governor. that is a privilege. someone, maybe that lawyer that you weren't listening to, should sit you down and explain the difference between a criminal trial and an impeachment-and-removal proceeding, because you do not quite get it.
"if it can happen to a governor, it can happen to any citizen." i don't think so. the senate is not in the habit of holding impeachment trials for citizens and stripping them of their illinois citizenship. they don't have that right under the illinois constitution, and they won't get that right if they remove you from office.
and, that's it. he only talked for forty-five minutes. i expected him to use the full ninety that he was allotted...i am pleasantly surprised. still, forty-five minutes of him saying nothing and evading the entire pay-to-play issue is more than enough.