To have a personal connection with both major figures involved in the trial of Rod Blagojevich has been fascinating to me.
I ran against Roland Burris for State Comptroller in 1982. I wanted to test an hypothesis that one could not win anything higher than the legislature without having sold one’s soul.
Impossible to prove a negative, of course, but Burris beat me by over a million votes. I could have raised more money in a state rep. race that year, but ambition proved my undoing.
Of course, beating me by over a million votes wasn’t a portent that Burris could win a Democratic Primary election for anything.
Not only do I have connection to Burris, but Blagojevich was elected to the Illinois House the same year I started my second eight-year run.
We even had dinner together the night we were sworn in.
I learned that his father was a Goldwater Republican. Back in 1964, there was a joke among Democrats that was a play on words to the slogan on the big billboard on the Dan Ryan Expressway: “In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right.”
“In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”
Some might think such an analysis of our former Governor fits like a glove.
In 2002, I ran as a Libertarian against Blagojevich and Jim Ryan for Governor.
The two conspired so they would not have to share the same stage with me.
Knowing the rules of the Illinois League of Women Voters would allow any candidate getting 5% in an independent poll, the campaign ran radio ads in August.
And met the 5% threshold in the Daily Southtown poll. It interviewed over 1,000 people, the largest survey taken that election.
Blagojevich and Ryan decided to skip the League of Women Voters debate and go to Rockford for a one-on-one appearance.
Our campaign had JimRod, the Two-Headed Chicken, outside the entrance.
Neither power party candidates would ever allow himself to come face-to-face with me.
A cartoonist created a image of the two as a two-headed chicken.
I went to each debate, standing outside.
At the Illinois Radio Association debate at the Old State Capitol, my supporters were gathered on the same side as Blagojevich’s.
All of a sudden there was a rush to the street where the TV news trucks were parked.
There was a commotion.
We learned that Blagojevich had been driven up, but was going to enter the building through a tunnel, going through the underground parking lot.
Another example of the extent of Blagojevich’s courage.
And, here’s how I learned of the verdict over CBS Channel Two. Channel Two showed text messages from the courtroom on its screen, the only TV station to do so.
I missed the message on the first three counts, but here’s what I saw on 4, 5, 6, and 7: