He knew that he was destined for greatness. The son of uneducated manual laborers, immigrants to Illinois, he was never much of a student, but he would become a successful lawyer. From a young age, though, his sights were set on political power. Through his political connections, he got himself elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and, later, to the U.S. Congress from Illinois. Gregarious when he wanted to be, he was known to all by his monosyllabic three-letter nickname, not his trisyllabic given name.
He was well liked by some, but despised by others. Very few people had a neutral opinion, and even some of those who liked him and supported him in his rise to power were disturbed by his odd, self-centered behavior. He seemed unable to show much human emotion for those around him.
Whatever else anyone might have thought of him, he was a masterful politician, attacking corruption while engaging in inside deals that helped him both politically and personally. Unhappy with the location of the Illinois capitol, he essentially moved it to where he was living. But his ambitions extended beyond Illinois, and he needed money and backing to fulfill his dream of rising from his modest roots to the highest office in the land. Washington beckoned, and nothing would stand in his way.
Or, at least, that is what Gov. Milorad “Rod” Blagojevich thought right up...