- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009

It’s looks like Rod Blagojevich is on a roll.

Chicago newspapers and Web sites have reported that the former Illinois governor is a “natural” in his new radio job, hosting the morning-drive show on WLS-AM.

Blagojevich, who was impeached and expelled from office just a couple of months ago, has been regaling listeners with his insider stories about state politics (“It stinks!”) and his criticism of his successor’s tax increase (“It stinks!”) and traffic on Canal Street (“It’s congested … and it stinks!”).

This bit of news gave me pause: A disgraced ex-politician finds an eager audience on the airwaves. (By the way, is the term “disgraced ex-politician” a redundancy or a tautology?)

I mean, who would have thought that a guy who basically made a living by talking a lot could find success as the host of a radio talk show? It boggles my mind, which I admit is easily boggled.

But let’s face it, with that coonskin cap stapled backward on his scalp, Rod Blagojevich has a hairdo that’s made for radio.

He’s becoming popular.

The fact that he still faces federal corruption charges for allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama is irrelevant.

The fact that he’s been banned from ever holding public office again in Illinois is immaterial.

The fact that many people think he’s guilty is unimportant.

In fact, all of this is what gives Blagojevich his edge.

There used to be a difference between being famous and being infamous. Would-be celebrities sought fame, not notoriety. You had to be seen doing something good in public to gain publicity, not be caught doing something illicit in private.

We used to shun and disregard the disgraced and the dishonorable among us — even pillory them. On real pillories. We called that “making an example” of someone.

Now we give them talk shows and book deals. We call it “making an example” of someone. For profit.

It’s all about the ratings and the sales, baby.

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