Facing a grand-jury investigation of his fund-raising practices, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois claimed that he had become a target only because of his “testicular virility” in standing up to a Chicago alderman he had accused of wrongdoing. Blagojevich, whose name can be typed only so many times without triggering a fatal carpal-tunnel attack, clashed with Alderman Richard Mell earlier this year when he closed a Joliet landfill operated by a friend of Mell’s. And you don’t close a man’s landfill without some serious payback. Mell in turn accused Blagojevich of trading jobs for campaign contributions.
Another fun fact: Mell is the governor’s father-in-law.
Blagojevich said that he believed Mell was only retaliating, and that he was not surprised, “knowing the way he operates and what he’s likely to do.” He said he believed he had become a target because he had the cojones to do the right thing: “This whole thing is very ironic,” he said, “because it’s all a product of doing things differently and making the hard decisions [to close landfills and such]. And this is the kind of thing that I think, frankly, separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that [closing a landfill] knowing what’s coming your way? . . . . I say I do.”
The governor refused to comment on the case itself (although he already seemed to have done so), because he said it would be illegal for him to discuss grand jury investigations, as he just had. “People who are commenting on that are violating the law,” he said, “so I can only tell you that we’re going to cooperate, and we look forward to full vindication,” which sort of seems like another comment of the kind that was supposed to be illegal. “To quote Teddy Roosevelt, we’re as clean as a hound’s tooth,” he persisted in illegally commenting.
Asked about polls showing that Blagojevich’s (ow!) rating has plummeted among voters, he said “that’s life,” and then recited lyrics from the Frank Sinatra song of the same name. Now that’s testicular virility, baby.