Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Blago is like OJ

It hit me yesterday, while talking to a coworker, who Rod "...and I'm telling you, I'm not going" Blagojevich reminds me off: O.J. Simpson.

Understand, I am not comparing political malfeasance to the murder of two people. I am comparing the men's similar reactions to becoming public pariahs. Blago and Simpson seem to share the same ability to act contrary to normal human behavior while in the crosshairs of the law and being vigorously derided by the public.

In a similar situation, the average person would retreat into privacy and take the counsel of attorneys and publicists, perhaps issuing the odd carefully-worded statement, and when in public, appear solemn and grim in deference to the seriousness of the situation.

Not these two.

Remember post-acquital O.J.--hitting the links, grinning and waving like a retired NFL star who everyone wasn't sure had killed his wife and her friend? Remember the hard partying, the dating of a young Nicole Simpson doppelganger, the book titled "If I Did It"? Simpson's behavior was breathtakingly crazy and socially inappropriate--sociopathic, in my non-medical appraisal.

As his impeachment trial began today, the governor of Illinois was taking some sort of media victory lap, comparing himself to Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela...and, in a clip I saw last night, I swear he alluded to Jesus. This after the Blago-led press conferences, featuring poetry and disabled children as props.

Yesterday, Blagojevich took his case to the ladies on "The View" and admitted to considering Oprah for Obama's U.S. Senate seat. (Oprah?!) He took responsibility for his wife's use of expletives. (Huh?) And basically dug himself deeper.

Blagojevich's actions (and Simpson's) seem to go beyond mere hubris. Or is this a special brand of arrogance that effects men with money and power? Maybe the same kind that made Indiana financier Marc Shrenker think his ill-conceived plan to fake his own death and avoid prosecution on fraud charges would work. In desperate situations, people often do desperate things, but you rarely see the kind of desperate dance that is being executed by this pol from the Land of Lincoln.

Here are clips from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's appearance on "The View":


MacDaddy said...

Maybe they can be cellmates in prison.

AJ Plaid said...

Hmmmm...it seems to me that what Blago and OJ are (in OJ's case, was) depending on is their ability to be famously amiable and under-doggish in order to regain public trust while they do/did what they do/did. They also play on the public opinion by dropping the appropriate cultural references: with OJ, the wretched law-enforcement bigot that was Mark Fuhrman and the sympathy he gained from the "Black man done wrong by the racist criminal system" narrative; Blago comparing himself as human-rights icons then saying he was taken out of context or the "Person done wrong by the biased media" narrative.

I'm sure other folks can do an even deeper read on the comparison, but that's what came to me reading the post.

Tei Tetua said...

But the difference is that Blagojevich has his formal trial ahead of him even if just about everyone thinks he's a crook: whereas Simpson had gone through his trial, and whatever the public may have thought, he knew he was invulnerable. Simpson could afford to laugh, but I'm surprised Blagojevich thinks he can.

ThirstyDancer said...

I'm so in agreement with you. I've been thinking about how the research on psychopathy suggests that the majority of psychopaths are not in prison (although the majority of people who ARE in prison are psychopaths based on their scores on diagnostic personality tests). I watch Blago spin his case, as did OJ, and feel a chill. They may not score high on all factors, but the "Aggressive narcissism" factor: glibness/superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, cunning/manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, shallow, lack of empathy, failure to accept responsibility for own actions, promiscuous sexual behavior seems to capture many of the traits these men have displayed with their actions and subsequent talk about those actions. So. They walk among us. Yikes.


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