Blago's media blitz reveals a hero in his own minds, say experts

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Jason Fink

Embattled Illinois Go. Rod Blagojevich made a whirlwind tour of New York City yesterday, granting a slew of defiant media interviews even as lawmakers 800 miles away began his impeachment trial.

Blagojevich, who is accused in a federal indictment of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old senate seat, blasted the impeachment proceedings and insistently defended himself to the women of “The View” as well as to Geraldo Rivera, Diane Sawyer and a slew of other TV personalities, leaving some to suggest the governor has developed an inflated sense of self.

He even had an exchange with former Mayor Ed Koch at Jean-Georges restaurant near Columbus Circle.

Koch called Blagojevich “bizarre but likable” and expressed surprise at how brazen the Democratic governor has been.

“Nobody that I have ever seen, who is charged with activity that is impeachable, has ever acted the way he has,” Koch said. “He’s giving the authorities the middle finger.”

In interviews in recent days, Blagojevich portrayed the impeachment as an effort to thwart his mission to improve health care for cancer patients, provide free buses to senior citizens and keep taxes low. He compared his arrest to the experiences of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The heart and soul of this is me against the system,” he said Friday.Blagojevich also compared his situation to a character in an old Western who was told he would get a fair trial and then be hanged.

“I’m fighting this to the very end for something that’s larger than me,” Blagojevich said on “The View.”

Experts say the reaction smacks of narcissism.

“When a person who is narcissistic is highly stressed, they may unravel and you see the most primitive part of their psychic make up,” said Gail Saltz, a psychiatry professor at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “It’s never my fault, it’s someone else’s fault. It’s not a very mature defense.”

Randall Richardson-Vejlgaard, a Manhattan psychologist, said the governor seems to have “a strong belief in his own specialness.”

“He has a sense of grandiosity, a sense of entitlement,” Richardson-Vejlgaard said. “There’s actually published research showing that people who choose politics as a career tend to have these characteristics.”

On “The View,” where Blagojevich revealed that he considered Oprah Winfrey for Obama’s seat, co-host Whoopie Goldberg suggested the stubborn defiance may not help the governor.

“I wonder if you’re not hurting yourself more than helping yourself,” she said. “It looks like maybe people are not taking you seriously.”

Tags: politics , media

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