Caught on Tape: President Obama and Rod Blagojevich

April 13th, 2012
in Op Ed

by Frank Li

Two recent news stories:

  1. Ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich enters federal prison.

  2. Obama caught on tape assuring Russian President more flexibility after U.S election.

Are these two stories related? Yes!

  1. Both stories again prove this point: American politicians work for themselves first, with everything else being secondary.

  2. Both President Obama and Blagojevich made the same mistake: being caught on tape!

Follow up:

1. Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich was a career politician who “served” in Congress for six years before becoming the Governor of Illinois in 2002. He spent most of his career enriching himself and was finally caught on tape trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama, which eventually led to his conviction in 2011.

Like many career politicians, Blagojevich does not seem to even know the real world anymore, living in his own fantasyland instead. Two examples:

  1. He kept saying that what he tried to do was “horse trading”, a standard practice in politics, without realizing that “horse trading” in this case was corruption.

  2. He campaigned until the end (Blagojevich speaks on last free day), never acknowledging the harsh reality. Perhaps, his 14-year sentence is a bit too harsh; but I believe his non-stop public campaign after his arrest in December 2008 contributed to the harsh sentence.

Welcome to the real world the rest of us live in, governor! You got what you deserve (Read: Illinois’ lost decade)!


2. President Obama

As I stated previously (American Democracy: Massive Falsehoods at The Top): “Like most American career politicians, President Obama serves, throughout his first term, for one supreme purpose only: getting re-elected ad nauseam”. This news story is just yet another example to prove the point!

Is this “mistake” by President Obama as bad as Blagojevich’s mistake in content? Yes, even worse! In China, it would have been considered treason. In America, it will be brushed off, just as the Iraq War was; nobody, either President George W. Bush or any of the members of Congress who voted for the war, has been held accountable for “the worst mistake of U.S. foreign policy in history” (Blagojevich and Pearl Harbor: They are related!)!

Americans seem to punish personal mistakes (e.g. Blagojevich’s), but not system mistakes (e.g. President Obama’s), though the latter damages America a lot more than the former! As a result, American politicians will keep making system mistakes, without being punished.

3. American Presidency

Previously, I listed out five Presidential “mistakes” (American Democracy: Massive Falsehoods at The Top). Here is a new example: General George Patton said, at the time, it was a huge mistake allowing Russia to take Berlin at the end of WWII. Eisenhower made the political choice of holding U.S. troops back. It furthered his presidential ambitions, but cost the U.S. and the world dearly! Ultimately, Patton was proven correct, but Ike became President! To Eisenhower, that was all it mattered!

4. Closing

Blagojevich and President Obama proved to be the same in two aspects, at least:

  1. Both of them work for themselves first.

  2. Both of them got caught on tape.

However, the realities are very different for them now: one is in jail, while the other will keep running for re-election, from the White House …

Should we blame them individually? Yes, to some extent! But more importantly, it’s the political system, stupid! Our political system simply does not attract the best people to serve in the first place. Worse yet, it turns many good people into self-serving politicos after election, all due to this “getting re-elected ad nauseam” thing!

It’s time to face the truth: American democracy does not work (any more)! My solution is the only workable proposal on the table!


Related Articles

Previous articles by Frank Li

About the Author

Frank LiFrank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.

Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson"(see page 31).

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  1. Larry Levin says :

    I thought they took down Blagojevich because he was trying to go after Bank of America?

  2. Patricia Blagojevich says :

    Governor Blagojevich's Top 25 Accomplishments
    1. All Kids. Over 400,000 more kids are getting healthcare since Governor Blagojevich took office, including over 200,000 more kids since the Governor created All Kids¬, making Illinois the first state in the nation to provide healthcare to all children.
    2. Minimum Wage. Raised the minimum wage twice in five years from $5.15 to $7.50, helping nearly 650,000 Illinoisans. Illinois' minimum wage will reach $8.25 by 2010.
    3. Preschool for All. Created the Preschool for All program to make preschool available to every 3- and 4-year-old in the state who wants it. Now, 36,000 more children are able to attend preschool each year than did 5 years ago - a 64% increase.
    4. Breast and Cervical Cancer. Became the first state in the nation to provide all uninsured women access to free mammograms and cervical cancer screenings and treatment; an additional 261,000 women are now eligible.
    5. Veterans Healthcare. Established the Illinois Warriors Assistance Program, a
    landmark Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder program for returning Illinois veterans. Illinois is the first state in the nation to offer screening to all returning vets for PTSD and TBI.
    6. Renewable Energy. The Governor signed into law one of the nation's strongest renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. The renewable energy standard requiring utility companies to obtain 25% of their power from renewable sources, such as wind, by 2025,
    7. Reduced Mercury Emissions. The Governor's historic mercury rule will protect the health of people and the environment by cutting toxic mercury emissions from nearly every coal-fired power plant in Illinois by 90 percent by 2009. This rule, among the strictest of any state and much stronger than federal restrictions, also requires the state's largest power producers to dramatically reduce emissions of dangerous smog and soot-forming pollution.
    8. $8.4 billion for education. Over the past 5 years, the Blagojevich administration has invested $8.4 billion in new money into our schools, providing a larger increase to schools than any administration in Illinois history.
    9. Dependent Care. 300,000 young adults in Illinois have access to health insurance because the Governor exercised his constitutional authority to improve legislation to allow young adults up to age 26, and up to age 30 for veterans, to stay on their parents' health insurance as dependents.
    10. College Tuition. Expanded the MAP financial aid program to help nearly 15,000 more students afford college since 2003.
    11.Stem Cell Research. Signed legislation to become the first state in the Midwest to provide public support for stem cell research. Over the past few years, Illinois has provided $15 million for stem cell research.
    12.Smoke•Free. Signed legislation to make Illinois Smoke-Free.
    13,Campus Safety. Thanks to the Governor's leadership, Illinois is the first state in the nation to require that all public and private colleges and universities develop, maintain and practice a campus safety plan. These plans cover 183 colleges and universities and more than 800,000 students.
    14.lIIinois Based Energy. In the last three years, Illinois has given more than $20 million to help build two biodiesel plants and three ethanol plants, creating new jobs and new markets for Illinois farmers. The Governor also committed $1 million to increase access to E-85 to increase access to E-85 and allow more gas station operators to offer ethanol fuel. Since 2004, the number of E-85 retail sales locations has increased from 14 to 145, which is about 20% of the entire nation's E-85 stations.
    15..Open Road Tolling. Became the first state in the nation to fully convert to Open Road Tolling, allowing millions of commuters more time to spend with their families while reducing pollution.
    16. Mass Transit Funding. The Governor took action on legislation that modernized the funding system for mass transit in Illinois for the first time in more than two decades. This increases funding for mass transit in Illinois by nearly $500 million year,
    17.Seniors and Disabled Ride Free. Provided free mass transit rides to all Illinois seniors, as well 275,000 people with disabilities.
    18.Investment Works and Summer Youth Employment. A community-based anti-violence initiative, to address the rising tide of violent crime among youth in Illinois. The Governor also provided 10,000 jobs to youth around the state during the summer of 2008.
    19.FamilyCare. Over 250,000 more parents have enrolled in FamilyCare since the Governor took office, as a result of the Governor raising income eligibility to allow middle-class families to get comprehensive, affordable health insurance.

  3. terry franzman says :

    Pure Bull!!

  4. Frank Li says :


    First off, let me express my sympathy to you and your family personally. As a father, I know how important fatherhood is to any family.

    Secondly, most of the accomplishments you listed are give-aways, massively giving tax-payer's money away for political capital! This is a key reason why Illinois is fiscally in the worst shape in the U.S. today!

    Lastly, please note that I am more concerned about the American political system than any individuals.

    --- Frank



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