Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rod Blagojevich

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Rod Blagojevich

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A rascally, rat-haired alchemist trying to transmute his political shame into b-list fame, Blagojevich has become an all-singing, all-dancing, all-talk-show-appearing symbol of Illinois corruption.

His notoriety would be amusing were it not tragic. Blago's nationally recognized malfeasance -- the alleged attempt to sell Obama's former senate seat -- is only the most publicized among scores of locally known schemes and tragedies: Tony Rezko, the Syrian immigre-cum-Papa John's magnate-cum-convict and prime contributor to Patti B's real estate (mis)fortunes; Christopher Kelly, close Blago friend, gambling addict, and a suicide; and, among other sordid dealings, the alleged attempt to bribe the Tribune over its sale of the Cubs. National pastime, meet the pastime of Illinois.

And yet, Blago's comeuppance isn't assured. Whether convicted during his June trial, Blago's neverending media appearances (Letterman, Leno, Celebrity Apprentice, etc.) have already ensured his post-courtroom cache. To the national public, if not to Illinois, he'll always be an amiable, jazz-handed, brassier-than-thou rodent.

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