Turns out Eliot Spitzer is not the only disgraced former governor to make a living lecturing about ethics to college students. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, quite possibly the most desperate unemployed man in America, has landed a gig doing the same at Northwestern University, where the undergraduate community is ready to give him a hero’s welcome.
From the Daily Northwestern:
“A conversation about ethics and politics is important to have,” said Dan Rockoff, vice president of programming for College Democrats. “There isn’t a better person out there to discuss this than former Governor Rod Blagojevich.” […]
“Our belief is that students at Northwestern are interested in debating this issue,” [Rockoff] said. “They will be interested to see this kind of dialogue.”
Derrick Wu said he was excited when he received a Facebook invite to the event. “It is absolutely a great idea to bring a prominent, controversial figure,” the Bienen and Weinberg sophomore said.
Before picking up our pitchforks, it may be important to note that they might just have a point. Unlike Spitzer, whose indiscretions were completely unrelated to his capacity as governor and only generated the level of outrage it did because it highlighted the hypocrisy in his desire to expose others who behaved similarly, Blagojevich was never exactly a man of virtue. His supporters fed on his image as a working-class family man doing everything he can to keep his family afloat, and technically, trading a Senate seat for money doesn’t contradict that. And that, of course, is assuming he is guilty, which he denies.
There is a tendency among many in the powers-that-be to belittle or silence Blagojevich in the public eye because of his idiosyncrasies, an unfortunate reality for any public figure with a modicum of personality (for recent examples see Conan O’Brien or Johnny Weir). Somehow, his hair and his running outfit and his outrageous press conferences are enough evidence to dismiss the presumption of innocence.
On the flip side, if Blago is as guilty as his hair is voluminous, he would still be an expert in his field. Only a master in ethics could subvert ethical codes the way Blago is supposed to have done so, and spend the next year or so vehemently denying it. If he’s guilty, he is a walking instruction manual on how politicians should not behave, one that, well, should be taught in schools.
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