by William A. Jacobson
On December 19, 2008, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich went in front of the television cameras and boldly proclaimed that he had done nothing wrong, much less criminal. Blagojevich pledged to "fight" to his "last breadth," invoking words similar to Winston Churchill's "fight on the beaches" speech.
Blagojevich's speech has been compared to Bill Clinton's famous address to the nation on January 26, 1998: "But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
Clinton's ability to deny his relationship with Miss Lewinsky collapsed when it was revealed that Miss Lewinsky had kept the "blue dress" containing a smudge (ugh, gross) of Clinton's DNA. At the time of Clinton's speech in January 1998, however, no one other than Lewinsky and two female confidants were aware of the existence of the stained blue dress. Clinton felt that he was able to lie to the American people because he didn't believe there was any hard evidence to contradict him.
Not so with Blagojevich. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has announced that Blagojevich has been taped repeatedly at least over a period of several months, and perhaps years. Fitzgerald has proclaimed that the tapes prove his case, which if true, would be the equivalent of Fitzgerald having the blue dress.
Yet Blagojevich gave his uncompromising denial knowing that Fitzgerald claims to have the "blue dress." It takes a special kind of person to deny accusations knowing that your opponent claims to have hard evidence; either you are supremely confident in your memories, or you are self-delusional. I can't wait until the tapes are released, so that we know whether Fitzgerald, Blagojevich, or both, have been putting us on.