SPRINGFIELD -- Arrogant and combative have become servile and obsequious.
That’s all I could think when I read Rod Blagojevich’s latest mash note to Donald Trump.
As most everyone knows, the former Illinois governor is locked up in a federal prison for multiple counts of corruption and wants the president to pardon him. Based on the tone of his essay this month in NewsMax, he must really, really want out.
Despite holding a history degree from Northwestern, Blagojevich’s composition shows him to be lacking in historical perspective and void of shame.
“He was always like a boxer ready to go out and fight. With Blagojevich, it was never like he was seeking a meeting of the minds to get something accomplished,” said former state Sen. Denny Jacobs of East Moline.
I dealt with the Blagojevich administration daily for his entire time in office. I’m still amazed by what I witnessed.
During a formal meeting in the governor’s office, Blagojevich got in a shouting match with then-Sen. Mike Jacobs in which he is alleged to have repeatedly called the senator a two-word obscenity that inferred he was unnaturally close to his mother.
During legislative sessions he wouldn’t deign to sleep in Springfield; he flew in the state jet back to Chicago each night.
He called the Illinois General Assembly into special session 36 times, which is about half of the total number of special sessions called since 1970. The sessions disrupted lawmakers' time off, accomplished little and Blagojevich himself refused to attend.
So, are you getting the picture? He was arrogant and always at war with somebody.
The tone he took in his essay last week is quite different.
Writing from the federal prison in Englewood, Colo., Illinois’ 40th governor finds striking similarities between our current president and Abraham Lincoln.
“I, like most people from my home state of Illinois, am a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln,” Blagojevich said. He adds his own “unhappy experience,” provides “this interesting and unique perspective about impeachment as I sit here in prison.”
I suppose the “unhappy experience” he is referring to is being impeached and removed from the governorship.
Blagojevich further pontificates, “Today's Democrats would have impeached Lincoln for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power when he unilaterally issued his Emancipation Proclamation.”
The Chicago Democrat added today’s Democrats would have impeached Lincoln for “Confederate collusion,” bribery and an “illegal quid pro quo.”
Blagojevich also contends today’s Democrats would demand a special counsel because Lincoln offered command of the Army “to a guy who would go on to become the top military commander of the other side.”
My goodness, Federal Inmate 40892-424 would do well to remember Robert E. Lee was a colonel in the U.S. Army when Lincoln offered him the command.
How can someone with a bachelor’s degree in history from Northwestern University spew this kind of nonsense? Did he stay awake during class? Does he have any shame?
“I guess he fancies himself a Lincoln scholar – but he’s not,” said longtime statehouse observer Mike Lawrence. “This is a pretty transparent effort to get Trump to pardon him.”
Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence for trying, as Illinois governor in 2008, to sell a U.S. Senate seat for campaign contributions.
Writing for the conservative website NewsMax, Blagojevich wonders “what would have happened had Nancy Pelosi been the Speaker of the House when Abraham Lincoln was president.”
He contends that today’s Democrats would have impeached Lincoln because he “didn’t ask Congress for permission when he declared an end to nearly 250 years of slavery.”
Has the former governor never heard of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery? It was approved by Congress and ratified by state legislatures. Shouldn’t a person with a law degree know this?
I recall him telling me and several other reporters: “"I went to law school at a place called Pepperdine in Malibu, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a lot of surfing and movie stars and all the rest. I barely knew where that law library was."
There is much that Blagojevich told me during his time in office that I don’t believe. But I never doubted that statement.
And after his latest literary endeavor, neither should you.
SCOTT REEDER is a veteran statehouse journalist and freelance reporter; ScottReeder1965@gmail.com.