BLAGO: NO CRAZIER THAN A LOT OF SUPPOSEDLY RATIONAL PEOPLE
Rod Blagojevich's remark on NBC that, after he was arrested, he "thought about Mandela, Dr. King and Gandhi" is either nuts or shameless -- I vote for the latter. What he said on ABC -- that he considered Oprah Winfrey for Barack Obama's Senate seat -- isn't nuts at all, at least by American standards.
It isn't just that we had a guy out in the heartland running a multi-year canpaign to get Oprah to run not for Senate, but for president of the United States -- it's that the guy got large amounts of attention from supposedly serious corners of the media. Before that, in 1999, we had the press taking seriously a possible presidential run by Donald Trump, who said he was considering Oprah as a running mate; more recently, we had Rasmussen in 2007 polling Oprah as a possible third-party candidate against then-Democratic and Republican front-runners Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani (Oprah got 10% of the vote).
This is a country that put Ronald Reagan in a governor's mansion and then the White House; it's a country where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura became governors, and where the same thing really might have happened to Howard Stern. And don't forget that Richard Nixon seriously consdidered Vince Lombardi as a running mate. (Lombardi, it turned out, was a Democrat.)
Blago's got a screw loose, but it's not this screw. Given the nature of U.S. politics, he was being perfectly rational.