Rod Blagojevich on Tucker Carlson: The Normalization of Corruption

Tucker Carlson had former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on his show to discuss the indictment of former President Donald Trump. In this video I explain why I find this to be another troubling example of the normalization of corruption.

Other video on Fox I mention:

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00:00:00:08 - 00:00:20:06
Bennett Tomlin
This is going to be a short video, but I need to talk about something that has been enraging me beyond belief, and that is the ever increasing normalization of corruption. The former Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, went on Tucker Carlson's show to discuss his opinion of Trump's indictment, which he compared to the beginning of the civil War.

00:00:20:07 - 00:00:35:18
Rod Blagojevich
They did it to a Democrat governor at a low level. What they're doing now to President Trump at the major league level is not only frightening, but this is probably, I would say, the most threatening thing to our republic since South Carolina fired shots at Fort Sumter. It started the Civil War.

00:00:35:19 - 00:00:52:26
Bennett Tomlin
Rod Blagojevich is quite literally the funniest person, except for maybe Rudy Giuliani you could possibly bring in to discuss this. For those of you who are unaware. Rod Blagojevich is a seminal name in the Illinois political tradition of corruption. He was a politician with a shockingly low approval rating.

00:00:53:13 - 00:01:06:14
Rod Blagojevich
I (beep) bust my (beep) to give your grandmother a free ride on a bus. Your (beep) baby has healthcare. Whathen I get for that, only 13% of you allthink I'm doing a good job. So (beep) all of you!

00:01:06:15 - 00:01:23:07
Bennett Tomlin
a fundamental belief that eventually he deserved to be in the White House and in the classic Illinois tradition, he loved being a broker of powerful agreements which benefited him. Here's an audio clip recorded by an FBI wiretap which shows him discussing selling Barack Obama's Senate seat.

00:01:23:08 - 00:01:30:25
Rod Blagojevich
I've got this thing and it's golden, and I'm just not giving it up for nothing.

00:01:30:26 - 00:01:54:08
Bennett Tomlin
Besides trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat, Rod Blagojevich also apparently tried to get the editor at the Chicago Tribune who was critical of him fired. Oh, that's not all. He also extorted a children's hospital for the state funds they were owed to get a campaign donation. Oh, wait. Still not all. He was accepting campaign donations for state contracts and appointments.

00:01:54:09 - 00:02:19:06
Bennett Tomlin
If you have a mental image of a corrupt Illinois politician who is always trying to broker deals to benefit themselves. Yeah. Rod Blagojevich is that. He was indicted in 2009 on 16 counts, including racketeering, wire fraud, extortion, conspiracy, attempted extortion and more. In 2010, he would be convicted of one charge related to lying to federal agents. But the other charges were a mistrial due to a hung jury.

00:02:19:07 - 00:02:43:04
Bennett Tomlin
He was tried again, and most of those charges beginning in 2011, where he was quickly convicted of 11 counts related to the Senate seat and six charges related to the children's hospital. In 2011, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Lucky for Rod, he didn't end up serving that sentence. Donald J. Trump saw a kindred spirits and a useful idiot and Rod and decided to commute his sentence in February 18th, 2020. Saying:

00:02:43:17 - 00:03:01:14
Donald Trump
Yes, we have commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. He served eight years in jail. It's a long time. And I watched his wife on television. I don't know him very well. I bet a couple of times he was on for a short while at The Apprentice years ago.

00:03:01:16 - 00:03:22:06
Bennett Tomlin
Since his sentence was commuted. Rod has been playing his role as an apologist for corruption, beautifully taking his opportunities to get his face in front of America again. Hell, you know what? Maybe he's even planning a future presidential run. He thought he could do it in 2016. And if Trump can do it in 2024, why not Rod Blagojevich 2028?

00:03:22:07 - 00:03:41:24
Bennett Tomlin
Tucker knows he needs to talk about the indictment of Trump because that's what his audience expects to hear. And as we talked about in my last video about Fox, Tucker will say what he needs to in order to keep his audience. Tucker knows that he needs to communicate to his audience that he agrees with them, and they think this is not a valid indictment.

00:03:41:25 - 00:04:08:03
Bennett Tomlin
But what's challenging for Tucker is he doesn't know the contents of the indictment yet. So how do you debunk something when you don't know what it is? You call in your pal Rod and you know he will say the things that you cannot. It's very similar to how Tucker and other Fox hosts eventually started being more careful with what they would outright say about Dominion stealing the election, But they would still invite on people they knew would say things like that.

00:04:08:03 - 00:04:40:22
Bennett Tomlin
Plus, inviting Rod on gives Tucker an extra excuse. People will accuse Tucker accurately of trying to excuse Trump's corruption. So Tucker will point to the fact that Rod Blagojevich is a Democrat in order to say, hey, this isn't some partizan thing. I think both of these were political prosecutions. I'm just really against that type of unfair prosecution. Rod helps provide cover for this further normalization, and Tucker wants to further normalize corruption.

00:04:40:23 - 00:05:12:09
Bennett Tomlin
People like Tucker who are connected to these corrupt individuals benefit when there is more corruption. Plus, for as long as Trump is the 2024 presumptive GOP nominee, they need to provide cover for his indictments. And they can't really turn on him because he will try to use his base to destroy them if they do potentially fracturing the Republican Party and leaving the Democrats in a really strong position to hold power for an extended period of time.

00:05:12:10 - 00:05:36:04
Bennett Tomlin
The GOP tied their fortunes to Trump and cannot effectively untie it. And now the entire apparatus really needs to mostly provide cover for Trump. Some will step out and make criticisms because it's important they look like it's not some universal position that corruption is okay, but largely they need to avoid fracturing the party. Now I'm going to be very clear.

00:05:36:19 - 00:06:05:22
Bennett Tomlin
There is tons of corruption on every part of the political spectrum. Excusing that corruption only worsens the corruption. It is a good thing that Democrats, including Rod Blagojevich and Mike Madigan, have been indicted for their involvement in these schemes, pursuing corruption is a good thing. Corruption, by its very nature, is not benefiting us, the people, and we should not tolerate it from those who purport to represent us.

00:06:05:23 - 00:06:29:02
Bennett Tomlin
But fundamentally, what I think is the most telling in this case is that the best possible defender of Trump, that Tucker Carlson was able to find was a corrupt governor who had their sentence commuted thanks to the corrupt person who was just indicted, editing Ben, cutting in quick to say I had forgotten to mention that Donald Trump also was a repeated political donor to Rod Blagojevich.

00:06:29:12 - 00:06:46:04
Bennett Tomlin
And as we've already seen, Rod Blagojevich will do a lot for a few campaign contributions. Tucker may get the answers he needs for his audience, but in doing so, he is normalizing the further corruption of our institutions, of our democratic processes, and of our media. And it is deeply immoral.

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