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He's not giving it away for f***ing free.

February 20, 2020 11:33 AM 

Mark Guarino

Now that disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is released from prison, what does he do now?

Even before Blagojevich landed in Chicago from Colorado where he was serving a 14-year federal prison sentence for corruption-related to attempts to sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, he denied any wrongdoing. “I’ve made a whole bunch of mistakes, but I didn’t break any laws,” he told reporters from the airport.

He later praised President Trump from the steps of his Ravenswood Manor home Wednesday. That night he appeared on Fox News, claiming he was set up by prosecutors with a political agenda.  

“I broke no laws, I crossed no lines,” he said. “I raised campaign contributions legally and lawfully. I never promised anything or threatened anyone in exchange for campaign contributions.”

Political leaders around the state in both parties rejected Blagojevich’s theories and said President Trump’s decision to commute his sentence set a bad precedent for white collar crime. “Every week, every month there are men and women who return from incarceration … The difference between them and Rod Blagojevich is they accept the responsibility for the crimes they committed,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot yesterday. “We have not seen one ounce of contrition of this man who held the highest office in our state.”

What is assured is that Blagojevich will continue to be a media gadfly for weeks, if not months, to come. And he still can seek a full pardon from Trump that will fully exonerate him from the 17 counts of corruption that sent him to prison in 2012. As for other activities to bide his time, here are some (not entirely serious) thoughts:

1.    Land an endorsement deal with Just For Men. Now a silver fox after nearly eight years in federal prison, Blagojevich’s notorious head of hair is already a living “before” picture for any men’s hair coloring product. With cash flow tight at the Blagojevich household, now’s the time to sell naming rights to whoever can best dye it classic Rod black.

2.    Buy 100 copies of “Triggered” by Don Jr. In late fall, the R.N.C. spent about $100,000 on copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s memoir, which pushed the book to the top of the best-seller list. There’s no better way for Blagojevich to say “thank you” to the president by buying in bulk any product his children release. Christmas is just 10 months away!

3.    Join the Fox News lineup. Geraldo is already a friend and wife Patti Blagojevich is a frequent guest. Now’s the right time for the former governor to join the conservative network as a pundit. Areas of specialty: White-collar crime, jogging, alleged persecution by the deep state and Elvis.

4.    Gaslight Michael Madigan. Having gone through impeachment and then prison, Blagojevich was once toast to his political enemies. Newly free, he’s having a last laugh. Don’t be surprised to see the ex-governor show up on the state capitol stairs demanding an apology from the Illinois House Speaker, who was recently interviewed in a federal probe, or, more likely, offering prison tips to nervous state officials.

5.    Get woke. Think about all the pop culture that’s come and gone since Blagojevich was sent to prison almost eight years ago: Tik Tok, Billie Eilish, “Stranger Things,” and gospel choir director Kanye West. There’s a lot to catch up on, for sure. He doesn’t even know it’s not cool to like Louis CK anymore! And what’ll happen the first time someone asks for his pronouns? Study up, governor. It’s a whole new world.

6.    Score legal weed. In olden days, if the former governor wanted to get high he’d have to imagine selling a former U.S. Senate seat to Oprah Winfrey. Now all he has to do is walk into any Chicago dispensary and ask for a pre-rolled joint or edibles. No, governor, the FBI won’t drag you back to Colorado for buying a loaded gummy. Sniff the air, it’s a new Chicago.

7.    Reboot “Rod Blagojevich Superstar.” Remember the long-running rock opera Second City produced to comically document the Blagojevich scandal? He certainly does as he once joined the cast onstage to face the mockery. Now that he needs work, it’s time to get the improv institution to reboot the revue starring the governor himself. Producers already know he can sing and he can say “yes, and” as long as it’s not being recorded by the feds.

8.    Hit the road with Rahm. Blagojevich is facing a lot of alone time at home watching television and thinking about his disgraced political career. Which means he shares a lot in common with former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The two should take a cue from James Carville and Mary Matalin, or maybe Abbott and Costello, and hit Broadway with “Rod and Rahm,” a two-man show that runs through their greatest hits like “Nobody Likes Me Anymore” and “I’m a Democrat, I Really Am.”

9.    Sell porch naming rights. Next to Wrigley Field and the Bean, the Blagojevich concrete stoop in Ravenswood Manor has emerged as the most iconic location in Chicago. Time to cash in, governor. The next time you hold a press conference outside your front door to dozens of news cameras, make sure they know you’re standing on “Fed Ex Railing” or the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Front Steps.”

10.    Run for governor. Okay, this isn’t possible. Illinois law bars an impeached state official from holding state office (although he still can run for U.S. Congress or any federal seat). But a guy can dream, can’t he? After all, on Tuesday he told reporters that he “didn’t do the things they said I did.” Just like OJ Simpson who is still searching for his wife’s real killer on the golf course, Blagojevich can finally use his free time to find the real governor heard on those wiretaps trying to sell a political seat for cash. Golden, baby, golden

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