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Actions don’t merit sympathy

Think about your daughters before you screw up, Blago, not after

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

While the fun of kicking Rod Blagojevich while he’s down is diminished now that he’s off to prison, he doesn’t deserve our sympathy, either.

But, in a roundabout way, he keeps begging for it.

Oh sure, our disgraced former governor gave that dramatic apology after he was sentenced in December. He admitted to what he did, and while he still made it seem as though he thought there is nothing wrong with auctioning off a Senate seat, he kinda, sorta accepted responsibility for it.

To Blagojevich’s credit, he has no longer been publicly pining for sympathy for himself. He’s been uncharacteristically quiet, actually. News stories that have quoted friends of Blagojevich say he’s somber and has spent the vast majority of his time with his family.

Yet it seems that every story about Blagojevich these days includes an indirect plea for sympathy because of his famly. Rod and his wife Patti aren’t hiding their worry about their two daughters and what effect their dad being away for 14 years will have on them.

While Rod rebuffed interview requests until speaking Wednesday, the day before he was due in Colorado, Patti spoke with Rosie O’Donnell. She told the talk-show host, according to the Chicago Tribune, that she and Rod fear their daughters will be “totally screwed up from this.”

“Come March 15, he is going to be gone,” Patti said. “We’re going to have the reality, this unbelievable reality of having to go visit my husband in a federal penitentiary.”

Do you know what I consider an “unbelievable reality,” Patti? The fact that I had to live in a state governed by an incompetent whose tenure was marked by scandal and financial disaster. Illinois’ “unfortunate reality” is that it is a national laughingstock, Patti, and your husband is one of the primary reasons why.

I do feel for the Blagojevich daughters. They’re innocent children and will have to do several years, provided their father doesn’t win an appeal, without him being a regular part of their lives. They don’t deserve that, but the blame for the predicament goes to their father, not to the system.

There are thousands of parents incarcerated in our country, and I’m sure the vast majority would argue that their children are hurt by their not being around. Blagojevich may truly be a better father than most of them, but that’s not for us to judge. And the fact that his crimes are of a more white-collar variety than many hardened criminals shouldn’t make the separation between him and his daughters more worthy of sympathy than it is for anyone else.

Blagojevich will never get me to believe that he thought there was nothing illegal about what he was doing when he put Barack Obama’s Senate seat up for sale. He may have thought he would never get caught, but he can’t possibly be ignorant enough to not know that was wrong.

And if Blagojevich didn’t want his daughters to be in the situation they’re in now, he never should have taken such a risk. Just like every other prisoner who has people that care about them missing them on the outside, Blagojevich was putting their well-being in jeopardy when he acted the way he did.

I am sick of Blagojevich using his daughters to draw public sympathy for himself, and I’m going to be a lot sicker if a judge reduces his sentence so he can go be a dad. You did the crime, Rod, and you’re not the only one who has to do time as a result. It’s not fair to them, but it’s your own doing.

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