Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Goldenrod Blagojevich, Celebrity Politicker

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The Governor survives Trump's boardroom for a second week.

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Blago's Week Two "Apprentice" Highlights

The Governor survives Trump's boardroom for a second week.
More Photos and Videos

Rod Blagojevich survived another week on Celebrity Apprentice, and demonstrated why it’s a great idea to have an ex-politician on the show: comic relief.

Blagojevich, dressed in a black leather jacket that made him look like Niko Belic from Grand Theft Auto IV, glad-handed his way through New York City's streets.

“Hey, you’re from Chicago!” a passerby called out.

Blago didn’t miss his cue, running over to press the flesh. The audience doesn’t come to politicians. Politicians go to the audience.

“Thank you, thank you, same here” he told the well-wisher. Then he asked the cameraman, “You guys get that?”

Then Blagojevich tried to sign an autograph for a pair of women who thought he was Donny Osmond.

But mostly he acted like a governor. He knew how to delegate, choosing Sinbad to lead the team in creating a Kodak storefront.

Sinbad organized a storefront where customers could have their pictures taken with the show’s real celebrities: ex-New York Met Darryl Strawberry, wrestler Goldberg and Poison frontman Bret Michaels. Blagojevich realized that no one would want to pose behind a desk with a politician, so he volunteered to take the photos. Which was a thrill for the public in its own way.

“They had a chance to have a photograph taken by a guy who used to be the governor of a big, big state,” he said.

Blagojevich also brought the balloons -- goldenrod, not yellow, to match the Kodak colors.

“Rod has a thing for balloons,” Sinbad noted. “There’s not enough balloons in the world. I’ve been in places without balloons and I’ve walked out. Nightclubs, restaurants…every man deserves a balloon!”

The men’s team lost the challenge. Sinbad, Blagojevich’s hand-picked project manager, took the fall. Although Rod had set him up, he refused to trash him before the cameras.

“Sinbad brought strengths to our team,” Blagojevich told Mr. Trump. “He sacrificed his celebrity to do less glamorous jobs.”

“You’re so political,” Mr. Trump replied. “I know it’s in your blood, but tell us what you really think.”

Blagojevich thought the project manager should suffer. Sinbad was fired.

Blagojevich never lost an election. He’s just as skilled at office politics. He managed to look like an important member of his team, without becoming the most important member. That insulated him from the responsibility for its failure.

Celebrity Apprentice should bring on more washed-up politicians. Bubba Clinton could use the exposure, now that his wife is the most famous Clinton and Barack Obama is the president who succeeded in reforming health care. Fellow attention-starved blowhard Newt Gingrich could lead an opposing team, in a rematch of the 1998 impeachment.

Gingrich couldn’t get the Senate to fire Clinton, but maybe he can convince Mr. Trump.

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