Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy birthday, Guv — How about a little self-exam?

Mary Schmich
December 10, 2008
Happy birthday, Governor.

Yeah, well, bleep you, too. Sit down. Yes, that seat is very hot. We don't coddle our clients here at to Pay-to-Play Therapy Inc., a fully licensed Illinois facility catering to crooked politicians. You're lucky we could squeeze you in. We're usually booked.

Let's cut to the chase, Guv. Are you out of your bleeping mind? Trying to sell—allegedly—a Senate seat? Trying—allegedly—to extort Tribune Co.? When you knew the feds were watching you through the sights of a loaded gun?

Ha ha ha. Very funny, sir, but you can't have me fired. I'm a therapist, not an editorial writer.

And I'm here to help you, Governor. You're 52 years old today. It's OK to feel sad. Fifty-two's no lollapalooza even if you're not a crook.

But it's especially sad for you. Just think. On Dec. 10, 1956, an innocent babe was born in Chicago. He grew up to be a husband, a father, a politician, an embarrassment to his state and a joke to the world. Help me to understand why someone would squander so much opportunity and promise.

That's all you can say? The word "bleep" again?

Here. Take this mirror. Birthdays are a time for self-examination. Are you proud of what you see?

Yes, you've still got a full head of hair. That's not what I meant. Keep looking while I consult my manual.

Hmm. "Delusional." Sounds right. How else could you think you had a chance of running for president in 2016?

"Compulsive." That works. You certainly seem to have been overpowered by repetitive, irrational behavior.

"Arrogant?" Yes. "Narcissistic?" Could be. Hmm. I don't see an entry for "dumb."

Sir. Please. Do I have to warn you again about the word "bleeping?"

I agree with you on one thing, Governor. No, not about the media. It's true they're feasting on your woes, but you have to admit that those taped phone conversations are pretty juicy meat.

Like the time you allegedly were talking about Barack Obama's open Senate seat and said, "I've got this thing, and it's [bleeping] golden. And I'm just not giving it up for [bleeping] nothing."

Grade A sirloin, sir.

Anyway, the thing we probably agree on is your kids. I'm sad for them, too. I'm sad they had to wake up Tuesday and find their dad had been hustled out of the house at dawn by the FBI. I'm sorry you put them in that position.

Are you listening, Governor? I get the feeling you don't listen very well. Can I read you something? It's from the statement by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald. Ready?

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges," he wrote, "is staggering. They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

Can we at least agree that Pat Fitzgerald can turn a phrase?

Governor, our time's almost up, so I'm going to offer you some advice. Even if these charges haven't been proven, they're so strong and the evidence is so compelling that this state and this city are weakened if you stay. Give up your job. Give Illinois back. Commemorate your birthday by giving the people that gift. You owe us.

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