TPM Reader PN
reports from the ground ...
Simply put, Blagojevich is that deadly combination of ignorance and arrogance. One or the other is survivable, but the two, combined, are not.
I know from speaking with many of my friends who have worked with him over the years (including on his campaigns) that he is as dumb as a box of rocks. (The campaign folks would never let him talk to the press, unscripted, ala Palin.) He also thought he was God's gift to the planet.
In recent years, his circle of advisers has shrunk to a miniscule three or four who make Bush's "yes men" crew look like a debate society. As a friend in state government told me recently, "Everyday Blagojevich gets up and says 'What can we do today?'" The point being, there is (and has been) no rhyme or reason for his governance. Fundamentally, the guy is an idiot, as the taped conversations prove. He is simply a jackass.
Everything I've heard is completely consistent with PN's report, though that does beg the question of how this goof got elected and reelected in the first place.
: Please no emails telling me this is the incorrect use of the phrase 'beg the question', though I know you're right. I've decided that this misuse is too widespread, too serviceable and too lacking in an alternative not to simply persist in using it.)Late Update
: Despite my forewarning, I'm being deluged by emails from purists telling me it would be so easy simply to use "raise" instead of "beg." I guess I'll have to give it more thought. Actual Substance Update
: The answer seems to be that he faced two extraordinarily weak Republican candidates -- though weak for different reasons. So it was really winning the primary in 2002 and that was because of a divided field and because he was a consummate fundraiser -- surprise, surprise.