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Editorial: Bound for prison, Blago clings to his delusions

Rod Blagojevich waves supporters after addressing medioutside his home W. Sunnyside Ave. Wednesday March 14 2012 Chicago. | John J.

Rod Blagojevich waves to supporters after addressing the media outside his home on W. Sunnyside Ave. Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 16, 2012 8:28AM

People tell themselves little lies about themselves. We all do it. We discount our mistakes and give ourselves extra points for things we’ve done right.

It’s how we get by.

But somewhere along the line, a healthy dose of honest self-assessment had better kick in or we surely become what we witnessed outside a corner house on Sunnyside Avenue on Wednesday afternoon — a man wallowing in delusions.

Just hours before Rod Blagojevich was to step aboard a plane and fly off to a federal prison in Colorado, he stood before the TV cameras one last time and, as always, served up a lot of goofiness.

He boasted of his accomplishments as governor, but he was a miserable governor.

Will he never see that?

He played along the edges of the job — handing out free bus rides for seniors here, a little more health care there — but ducked the big challenges and left the State of Illinois a financial mess.

And again on Wednesday, Blagojevich insisted that for all the “horse trading” he had engaged in, he always believed at the time that he was “on the right side of the law.”

As if, taking him at his word, he had no responsibility to know what the law was.

Will he never see that?

Then again, recalling how Blagojevich worried about tapped telephones, nobody should take him at his word.

The entire spectacle outside Blagojevich’s house was just sad.

The way he still talked like a politician on the stump was sad — “Thank you! God bless you!” — that won’t go over in prison.

The stricken look on his wife Patti’s face was sad. This is a woman who, for all her own mistakes, quite obviously believes in her husband, which must be respected, and has stood by him, which must be respected more.

The pep rally atmosphere was sad, full of cries of “We love you, Rod!” And silly “Free Blago” signs.

The hearts of the neighbors, who stood and watched from the curb, were sad.

Whatever Rod did wrong, many of them said, they knew him and Patti and the girls in that way that comes with block parties and baby-sitting. They felt bad.

Saddest of all was Blagojevich’s misplaced sense of his own importance.

There was something jarring, something mildly inappropriate, in the way he waved to his defenders and acknowledged their cheers and, for that matter, the way he showered praise on his wife.

Politicians praise the wife in public. Men going to prison tend to do it in private, while begging for forgiveness.

Rod Blagojevich, inmate 40892-424, is about to be shorn of his delusions.

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