Blago Story Fascinating Due to 'Rakes and Rogues'

Sam Donaldson on keeping life fun, and why Blago makes "terrific entertainment."

Jan. 29, 2009 — -- The following is a commentary by ABC News' Sam Donaldson. Click here to view a video version of his latest essay.

The late Conrad Hilton said that after 50 years in the hotel business he had learned only one thing he thought was always true: that it was better to put the shower curtain on the inside of the tub than the outside.

Well, there are two things I've learned that I think are always true. The first: Life is too short to associate with dull people. Which brings us to the governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich.

Did you see him with Barbara Walters, and the other ladies on the view? He was over the top, terrific entertainment … and we all watched with fascination and enjoyment. See him dodge and weave in that boyish "ah shucks" manner, as Barbara, playing Ms. District Attorney, tried to pin him to the wall. See Joy Behar tussle his hair and urge him to do his imitation of Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook."

Now, of course, we cannot admit that we watch for the enjoyment. We have to say that we are "horrified" by this terrible man who the prosecutor claims was trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. We have to say we watch because we want to see him brought to justice, at least in the court of public opinion.

Nonsense. We have always been interested in rakes and rogues, primarily because they are not dull.

In my own Southwest, that sociopath known as Billy the Kid was elevated in death to near Robin Hood-style sainthood. His story spread from dime novels to recent movies, held up as a near hero … a filthy murderer. But not dull.

So, if Rod Blagojevich is removed as governor … if he is indicted, as predicted, and if he is then convicted and has to spend some time in prison, what will his life be like when he gets out?

Why, he will be lionized in the best circles. No A-list Chicago party will be worth going to unless Blagojevich is there with his hair and hairbrush.

He will certainly have his own talk show. Roger Ailes, the genius who created Fox Cable News, has probably already contacted him with a tentative offer. Roger knows better than almost anyone the truth of my first rule: Life is too short to associate with dull people.

Oh, yes, my second rule: Life is too short to drink bad wine, to which the great CBS News correspondent and world-class wine aficionado Bill Plante has added a corollary (the Plante Corollary): "Almost any wine is better than no wine," a corollary that does not apply to rule No. 1 about dull people.

Sam Donaldson, a 41-year ABC News veteran, served two appointments as chief White House correspondent for ABC News, from 1977-1989 and from January 1998 to August 1999, covering Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton. Donaldson also co-anchored, with Diane Sawyer, "PrimeTime Live," from August 1989 until it merged with "20/20" in 1999. He co-anchored the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast, "This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts," from December 1996 to September 2002. Currently, Donaldson appears on ABC News Now, the ABC News digital network, in a daily show called "Politics Live."