By Alan Tuerkheimer
Politicians typically enjoy advantages that criminal defendants on the stand don’t, and that is an unchallenged, deferential and oftentimes obsequious free pass from those asking questions. Alas, it often involves a media afraid that probing questions will mean curtailed access. The press may have turned on Blago, but he has not seen anything even close to what he would see during cross-examination should he choose to take the stand. Most defendants in his shoes would shun taking the stand. But Blago being Blago, he feels he can connect with anyone. He believes the truth is on his side, and that he can convince jurors that he is merely the victim of an overzealous group of prosecutors hell-bent on destroying him. He plays the victim card, and tries to exude the sense that he is like you and me, that he has been fighting hard for the average citizen of Illinois. On some interviews, he completely lacks remorse or contriteness and comes across as defiant and someone who will fight until the end. Conversely, on talk shows, he airs his more humorous, light-hearted, self-deprecating side. He needs to be liked and loved, and feels that no matter what, no one, except for political adversaries, would stand in the way of his admirable pursuit of justice for all.
Politicians have always had a sense of invulnerability, and clearly surround themselves with plenty of “yes-men” who reaffirm their sense of entitlement. But this sense of imperviousness seems to be getting more and more magnified with each breaking scandal, and Blago epitomizes this every time he steps in front of a camera. Okay, so some politicians lie about extramarital affairs when there’s irrefutable proof it happened (some say either you’re pregnant or you’re not; well if you impregnated someone, you had relations with them), they embellish their military credentials when it is obvious they were at best erroneously inflated, and well, some just want people to believe they’re hiking on the Appalachian Trail – thank you Governor of Argentina. In the end it is hard for me to imagine anyone convincing Blago not to take the stand. Psychological studies show that those out of touch with reality typically persevere onward, even as it becomes increasingly clear that the roadblocks ahead, and obvious signs of insurmountable peril, accumulate. Clearly politicians do not have to undergo personality tests before taking office, nor do they face legal adversaries when stumping for votes. Good luck Blago.