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Another sociopath in office: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

Even people accustomed to dirty politics were shocked last week when Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI on federal corruption charges. Blagojevich had been under investigation for years, he apparently knew he was under investigation, yet he tried to put President-Elect Barak Obama’s Illinois senate seat up for sale anyway.

How blatant was the governor? Jay Leno joked that he listed Obama’s seat on eBay.

On Tuesday, December 9, the day Governor Blagojevich was arrested, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois issued a press release. It states:

A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:

  • a substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;
  • placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;
  • promises of campaign funds – including cash up front; and
  • a cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

And how did the governor respond to the allegations? He proclaimed his innocence, showed up for work and defiantly rejected calls to resign.

Ran against corruption

Blagojevich was first elected governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006. He originally ran on an anti-corruption platform. Voters no longer believe the governor’s “always lawful” claim. His approval rating is now a paltry 13%.

In fact, back in February 2008, long before the governor was arrested, Chicago Magazine ran an article about him called Mr. Un-Popularity.

The article is a colorful, well-written description of Rod Blagojevich’s fall from grace. The story describes behavior that any Lovefraud reader would immediately recognize as sociopathic. For example:

  • Blagojevich married the daughter of a powerful Chicago alderman, Richard Mell, who helped Blagojevich get elected. Once he was the governor, Blagojevich discarded Mell.
  • Blagojevich feuded with practically every politician in the Illinois statehouse.
  • Blagojevich spent much of his administration fending off accusations of ethical irregularities and outright corruption.
  • Blagojevich never accepts blame for his or his administration’s mistakes.
  • Blagojevich makes no apologies for his defiant style.
  • When Blagojevich didn’t get his way, he “blew up like a 10-year-old” and threatened to run a senator out of the Statehouse.
  • The criticism doesn’t faze the governor. In public, he’s easygoing, unshaken and self-assured.

Mr. Un-Popularity is an excellent description of what happens when sociopaths are elected to positions of power.

Explaining the behavior

The author of the article, David Bernstein, tries to explain the governor’s behavior. In fact, he even quotes several people who call Blagojevich a sociopath. But he does it in the context of amateur “armchair psychologists,” and follows up the term “sociopath” with “madman.” Here’s what he wrote:

The governor’s strange behavior has been fertile ground for local armchair psychologists. Last summer, the downstate newspaper the Peoria Journal Star declared that the governor was “going bonkers.” Privately, a few people who know the governor describe him as a “sociopath,” and they insist they’re not using hyperbole. State representative Joe Lyons, a fellow Democrat from Chicago, told reporters that Blagojevich was a “madman” and “insane.” “He shows absolutely no remorse,” says Jack Franks, the Democratic state representative. “I don’t think he gives a damn about anybody else’s feelings. He tries to demonize people who disagree with him; he’s got delusions of grandeur.”

The author also came up with other possible explanations for the governor’s behavior. They include:

  • Blagojevich had some kind of personality change after he won the gubernatorial primary.
  • Blagojevich grew up in Chicago politics, and wanted to be an autocrat like former Mayor Daley.
  • Blagojevich was an introvert in an extravert’s business.
  • Blagojevich was jealous of the success of former Illinois Senator Barak Obama.
  • Blagojevich was feeling pressured by three years of federal probes into unethical behavior by his aides.
  • Power changed Blagojevich for the worse.


Another missed opportunity

All of those reasons for the governor’s bad behavior are nonsense. Rod Blagojevich is a sociopath, and that explains everything. He is doing what sociopaths do.

Some of the people that Bernstein interviewed got it right and correctly pointed out the governor’s personality disorder. So here’s what happened. Either Bernstein, like most reporters, didn’t really understand the meaning of the term sociopath, and so did not know how to use the information. Or, if Bernstein did understand what it meant, the magazine’s editors and lawyers didn’t allow him to describe Blagojevich as a sociopath because of concerns about objective reporting or potential lawsuits.

Rod Blagojevich is a poster child for this personality disorder. His shocking behavior on a national stage could be an opportunity to educate the public about these predators. But it looks like the opportunity will be missed.



117 Comments on "Another sociopath in office: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich"

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  1. behind_blue_eyes says:

    Skylar;

    What appalls me the most about “moral” conservatives in this country is that they are quick to condemn gay rights and women’s reproductive rights, yet turn a blind eye to “Jackass” and in violent TV, movies and video games, gambling, and various other things I would personally consider as “moral turpitude.”

  2. Ox Drover says:

    Monkey see, monkey do….

  3. skylar says:

    BBE,
    yes, I agree BBE, but please don’t consider their stated views on gay rights and women’s rights as actually being their opinions. The opinions of a spath changes moment by moment depending on what will get the most emotional reaction.

    For example, my spath, when I met him, didn’t actually listen to political discourse. He came across as a liberal long haired hippie and lead guitar player in a band. He loved animals, and had a heart of gold.

    Fast forward 20 years and he spend all his time listening to “hot talk” on the conservative radio shows. His view morph to become one with the shock jocks views. WTF?

    One day he said, “people shouldn’t get welfare. We should get rid of programs that help poor people because it just makes them lazy. Like me, I’m someone who wouldn’t work if someone gave me everything I needed.”

    I just looked at him in shock. I said, “But spath, you’ve never worked. All you’ve ever done is sell drugs!”

    “Well that’s work.” he replied.

    It wasn’t long after that, that he decided he needed a new mask as a commercial helicopter pilot. His new, “conservative views”, needed a new mask.

    In fact he doesn’t care one way or the other, but he had noticed that there is a lot of emotion to be mined from this Ayn Rand perspective. That’s all they really care about, the emotional gold mine.

    Being a jerk, gets the most attention, gets shock, gets outrage, gets people scandalized.

  4. woundlicker says:

    Oh, yes, the ex spath would change colors like a chameleon. He only said one true thing the entire time I knew him and that was when he said he was unlovable. Nothing else was the truth. I don’t think he ever believed any of his own opinions or view points. He said words only for some temporary gain. None of them were truth.

  5. DUPED NO MORE! says:

    woundlicker: I can completely relate to your statements.
    Yes, change color just like a chameleon, alright….

    I heard just about the same thing from mine: “I am not a nice man”. I should have listened all these years instead of hoping and hanging onto the belief that my ‘x’ could have been that wonderful person he was in that ‘fake love bombing’ beginning.

    When my ‘x’ said: “I am not a nice man.” I should have listened and walked away but I didn’t and I ended up in hell for just about five solid years. I mean, I am talking about ‘should have been in a hospital’ kind of hell. I was not a pretty sight for sure!

    NOTHING THEY SAY IS TRUE because THEY DONT EVEN KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH IS. They have told so many lies, one on top of another, they can’t even keep them straight anymore.

    I am sorry for these types of people because they are just ‘pissing’ their lives away…it’s tiresome to keep wishing that they will ever be anything different than what they are right this moment.

  6. behind_blue_eyes says:

    “Oh, yes, the ex spath would change colors like a chameleon.”

    Mine almost never looks the same in any two pictures; others have made similar comments regarding sociopaths. Could this be a reflection of their chameleon personas?

  7. woundlicker says:

    BBE~ I noticed, too, how the ex spath looked so different in each of his mugshots when I looked on google last week. The only similarity was the dead eyes. Oh, and gigantic head of course. But in the course of just 5 years his looks changed dramatically.

    Duped~ my nightmare with the ex spath echoes yours very closely. The stress from that maggot did land me in the hospital where I had heart surgery for cardiac arrest caused by WPW syndrome. This was exaggerated, however, by the stress of the ex spath. This loser warned me early on that he was a bad person and that I would get dragged down by him. As true as that was, I don’t believe he actually believed it for a second. It was his pity ploy to try and get a clearly compassionate woman to do her best and help him, support and encourage him, and in the end change him. He didn’t want to change nor could he. He just wanted to reel me in with sympathy. I did my time in hell on earth because of this scum, so it all played out for a reason, but damn! I just hope his real hell still awaits him.

  8. Louise says:

    BBE:

    Yes, I think the different looks is a reflection of their chameleon personalities. Mine always looked different. Weird. And his daughter looks exactly like him. All I know is that it means something is terribly wrong :-(

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