Take a deep breath: This picture of Blagojevich and Obama being sworn in to testify at a Congressional hearing was taken in 2005. But despite the fact that Blagojevich hates "that motherfucker" more than even Tracy Morgan does, he still might turn into even more of a nightmare for Barack Obama. What it means for the Huffington Post's Jason Linkins and me, however, is that there's plenty to talk about, including Blagojevich's stupidity, nipple clamps, other corrupt assholes, and Rahm Emanuel's potentially snitchy ways (and why we love them).
JASON: All right! Day three of my whole Rear Window act begins. You know, my neighbors just aren't as helpfully murderous as I'd suspected. Everyone's feeling better, though.
MEGAN: I can't see into anyone's windows across 4 lanes of traffic and a tree-filled median, but it's never anything good. At least in college, it was a 50-50 shot of catching people fucking on Buswell Street.
JASON: You have told me, once, where you went to college, but I forget. There's a company that's making fragrances of colleges: UVA would be gingkoberries and extreme sexual frustration.
MEGAN: I went to Boston University, which I can only assume is the smell of cigarettes in winter with a slight tinge of Storrow Drive Exhaust and that mildew-y smell of wet subway car. Any of it, though, smells better than the stink around Rod Blagojevich, whose name after his years in Congress and then in Springfield I have finally learned how to spell without looking.
JASON: Yep. My, oh my. Someone dialed up a shitstorm for us, right on time! And people wondered what journalists would do after the election! I don't even know where to begin with this fucking guy, except to point out the fucking Mametian quality of his fucking dialogue.
MEGAN: Did you see the re-enactment on Maddow last night?
JASON: HA! This is pretty great.
MEGAN: The only thing it lacked was puppets. I listened to the first part of it from my kitchen while baking cookies, and I imagined it with puppets.
JASON: The Chicago accent tends to bleed into Sarah Palin's accent. But that's probably appropriate.
MEGAN: My favorite part, so far, is this:
Mike Jacobs, a Democratic state senator and former friend of the governor, suggested that Mr. Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality.
“I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck anymore,” Mr. Jacobs said.
Someone on MSNBC yesterday literally said that this shit was so crazy that it sounded like Blago was going for an insanity defense. Now that would be epic. Not even Traficant went "But I'm craaaaaazy" and if ever a corrupt motherfucker was actually crazy, it was Jim Traficant.
JASON: Blago is just a Palin with more toys to play with. More avenues to get in trouble.
MEGAN: (Please excuse me while I go bleach my brain for momentarily pondering Palin playing with her "toys." Let alone Blago wanking it.)
JASON: Ha. Well, take the Trib stuff. You know, we joke about print dying, but man, here we have a guy in a two-newspaper town, more or less trying to manipulate the owners of one paper to cap a critical editor. You can imagine the dreams of corrupt shitheels in, say, Newark, New Jersey, which will likely be a NO NEWSPAPER TOWN. It puts the whole local-press-as-bulwark-to-corruption angle into a little bit of perspective. And on top of that, there's a structural imbalance in the way information gets spread when newspapers fold. People on the low rung of society don't always have laptops and Kindles, but they can get a newspaper. The End Of Print means the start of many people getting rolled.
MEGAN: Man, do you know anyone with a Kindle? I know only one person, and he is really, really, really into that Kindle. But, yeah, the dearth of substantive content in local newspapers bugs me every time I go home. I should take me longer than a cup of coffee to read the A section, let alone the whole paper. And it's not like people are stupid, you know? You can get people interested in the world around them, or you can package up 10 AP stories, a shitty OpEd columnist, 3 columns off the wire services and shovel it at them like it doesn't really matter.
JASON: My sister is always running into people with Kindles. Well, people with ONE Kindle. No word yet on a person with multiple Kindles.
MEGAN: Wait. Your sister... the one in New Jersey? Because the person I know with a kindle originally hails from New Jersey. Are Kindles the new iRocs?
JASON: No. That's my sister in law. My actual sister lives in Northern Virginia.
MEGAN: Oh, never mind. That was an awesome theory for a second.
JASON: Ha! I think Kindles have some potential, actually. They just haven't realized it yet.
MEGAN: Sort of like this Blago scandal! Which I think we should get back to if only to discuss other fother avorite part, which is just how insanely stupid Blago and his team are, between thinking that $250-300,000 is big money to run a major foundation to thinking Barack Obama could just appoint him to the boards of things. Never mind the whole part where they're like, "Energy Secretary pays more because it's, like, about oil!!" Um no, you stupid fuck.
JASON: Blago's just one a dem good ol' boys who just wanted ALL THE DOLLARS. "Your dollars, GIVE THEM TO ME. Appoint me to some stuff. Appoint my wife to some stuff. Why can't I take this Senate seat to the dog track, and wager it? I could come back with, like, a bunch of Senate seats."
MEGAN: But, like, the sheer stupidity astounds me. Like, dude was a motherfucking Congressman and thinks that the Secretary of Energy makes more than the other Cabinet members? He thinks he can avoid indictment by becoming a Senator (Ted Stevens would beg to differ)? He thinks that he could appoint one of his Deputy Governors to the Senate seat and she would just totally resign it for him in 2 years — as though he's never met another politician in his life?
JASON: Yeah, the guy truly has got shit sniffs for brains. You know, it wasn't until very late in life that I actually saw the movie SCARFACE? And when I saw it, I was like, HOLY SHIT! You gangsta rappers have built your personas on this fucking greasestain? This guy is a cold fucking dumbass with a cratered out nasal cavity. A walking fucking joke. Blago sort of strikes me the same way - not an ounce of grey matter upstairs. You have to feel bad for whoever becomes the next Illinois governor. Between Blago and Ryan, corruptions on a white-hot streak. They're gonna put the next guy on a wire at his or her swearing in. The next governor of that state's gonna have more metal up their ass than a Salvadoran style grilled chicken.
MEGAN: I personally prefer Peruvian chicken. Mmm, Hungry now. Anyway, even worse, surrounded by people who don't have any! Because, let's face it, there are plenty of successful-but-stupid politicians. Generally speaking, they are helmed by smart-but-not-charming people. He, somehow, was not. I am now somewhat obligated somehow to draw a parallel between Blago and former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher who, similarly, did not have a reputation of being a complete dumbass while in Congress, went to helm a state at about the same time as Blago and ended up corrupt, venal, mired in scandal.
JASON: An apt comparison. Now, of course, what' s left is how all of this plays out against the presidential transition.
MEGAN: I think, reading the indictment, that Rahm Emanuel can deny all he wants, but he's the Presidential Adviser in the indictment that Blago was trying to hold up to get his profitable non-profit off the ground, his 501c(4). And Rahm is nobody's fool. And if SEIU's Andy Stern really is the union guy that Blago hit up for money for Valerie Jarrett's nomination, Stern's no fool either. Jarrett dropped out once that got back to her, Blago hit up Stern again, then Rahm... Yeah, they snitched. Of course they snitched. You don't keep it from prosecutors — that you already know are investigating the guy and possibly wire-tapping him — that he's trying to auction off the Senate seat, you say, fuck that guy, burn him up like newspaper and you protect your own man from even a whiff of that guy's farts.
JASON: If that's true, that's a smart move. Not that I think PFitz is the sort of prosecutor who can be pushed into making arrests before he really wants to, but why not do what you can timing-wise, to free yourself of this before Inauguration.
MEGAN: And if Jarrett can be like, I dropped out once I heard he was trying to use me to extort the new Administration, she's the only one that comes out smelling like roses.
JASON: Of the [Candidate X]'s you mean?
MEGAN: Yes, totally. Candidates 5 and 6 are fucked.
JASON: Well and truly fucked!
MEGAN: Oh, shit, you know what does suck? Illinois redistricting in 2011 under what one assumes will be the new Republican governor. Illinois was fucking crazy gerrymandered in 2001.
JASON: Yeah. Illinois is going to be interesting for a good long while, now.Obviously, the best thing Obama has going for him is Blago's own recorded statement, that the only thing he'd give, quid pro quo, is his "appreciation." That makes Obama look good. At the same time, I don't think it's any occasion to start up the ticker tape parade: "WOO, THE PRESIDENT MANAGES TO FULFILL THE BASELINE DUTY OF DOING THE RIGHT THING! BRING ME MY NIPPLE CLAMPS!"
MEGAN: Well, I mean, after 8 years of George Bush that was immediately preceded by a bunch of shady Clinton pardons, I mean, can you blame people? Having a President-elect that hasn't managed to fuck major shit up yet is practically an accomplishment in and of itself. It's totally the bigotry of lowered expectations.
JASON: The soft, pillowy bigotry of low expectations. Maybe Alan Keyes finally has a shot in Illinois!
MEGAN: He'd probably definitely have to move out of Maryland to be governor, though.