Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Impeachment, Treatment or Exorcism?

That goofy vacant look, the Elvis combover and, above all, over-the-top arrogance are pushing the Blagojevich brouhaha into mental-health territory as the Illinois governor announces his intention of returning to work today.

“I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck anymore,” says Mike Jacobs, a Democratic state senator and former friend quoted by the New York Times, as suggesting that "Blagojevich may have lost his grip on reality."

The Times backgrounder is replete with diagnostic terms such as "grandiosity," "pathology" and "no feedback loop or reality check" to suggest that Blagojevich's legal team may be planning to cop a psychiatric plea.

We are back in "disorder" territory to explain very bad, eventually self-defeating behavior by public officials (see Clinton, Bill: sex addiction), but labeling Blagojevich a sociopath is too easy an out.

That diagnosis, in the era of a new president's emphasis on personal responsibility, won't wash. It may pigeonhole the Illinois governor's odd antics to relieve us of thinking too hard about the corrupting effects of power, but straight arrows like Patrick Fitzgerald are more socially useful in expressing public outrage and disgust.

Nowadays, every exposed rogue (see Foley, Mark: rehab clinic) opts for treatment rather punishment but, at the risk of sounding insufficiently postmodern, the focus should be, not of explicating or exorcising Blagojevich's demons, but getting him out of office and into jail.

Update: This afternoon Barack Obama joined the chorus for a Blagojevich exit as his spokesman announced: "The president-elect agrees with [Illinois] Lt. Gov. [Pat] Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois."

Adios, Elvis.

1 comment:

The Baroness said...

Funny, one day the IL Gov. is standing up to Bank of America, trying to force their hand in extending credit to that company where it's "former employees" were doing a "sit in", basically telling them and the country that they have received the "bail out" money, now do what your suppose to with it and not pay dividends and line executive pocket books.....huh then the next day he's getting arrested?? All seems to convenient to me! I watched with interest the IL state atty general's news conference. Reporters kept asking him specifics....and honestly.....he couldn't give any other than keep telling them the indictment is 76 pages and to go read it themselves. LOL Seems like some one is paying the price in standing up to the world bankers!