Something about Rod

Sorry, I haven’t gotten to my global warming article yet because I’m too busy shoveling snow.

In the meantime, savor this: the Illinois House actually did something today. They impeached Rod Blagojevich.

It will take the state Senate approximately one month to catch up and complete a trial of the governor. If he’s convicted, he’ll be gone. He can pretend to be governor, but he won’t be. Of course, that won’t be much of a change from the way things have been going in Illinois for the past 6 to 8 years.

But on one month’s time, who knows. It gives Blags the opportunity to spend more time pretending to be governor. Enough voices in the media and elsewhere could find more dandy excuses for Blags’ behavior and repeat them often enough that they start sounding somewhat reasonable, reversing the near-universal public disapproval of this jerk (it’s damn near 100% as of this writing), and the resulting demand that he disappear, now. That, of course, would give the Illinois Senate carte blanche to do nothing, which they are very good at.

Or they could run into reality: while Blags’ behavior has been morally and ethically reprehensible, he hasn’t legally been proven to have done anything wrong. Then again, it doesn’t seem that the Illinois constitution requires such niceties. It just seems to state that all Blags has to be is unable to govern for some reason. He certainly fits that description; certainly nobody seems to be sure of what he is doing in his office all day. But then again, people tend to make excuses for the behavior of bullies, which is what he is.

I remember a red flag that popped up years ago, when Blags was first running for governor. One of the first things a politician learns is never to diss babies (dissing moms is okay) or veterans (unless the politician is George W. Bush). And so Blags, who at the time was riding a white horse on his way to rescue Illinois from the clutches of the evil George Ryan (the Republican then-governor who now resides in an Indiana prison), was scheduled to speak to a veterans’ group. Some relatives of mine were going to go; everyone was excited at the prospect of meeting the Democratic wonder boy who was destined to make a fabulous, yet brief stop in the Illinois governor’s mansion (which, in fact, he has never really moved into, opting instead to fly a private jet — at taxpayers’ expense — between Springfield and his home in Chicago), before moving on the White House.

Instead Barack Obama appeared, and barely had time to wave as he rocketed past the Illinois governor’s mansion on his way to the White House. This has irked Blagojevich to no end. But I digress…

Something funny happened on the way to the veterans’ lodge: Blags got a better offer from a group that was more politically well-connected than this bunch of wheezy, creaky WWII vets. And so he canceled the engagement. As I remember, he very frankly told the vets that he’d had a better offer. It was the first inkling we had that under his starchy button-down dress shirt, Blags had an tatoo that read “I’m an Asshole.”

At the time it was just a nondescript shadow on an x-ray. But as it has turned out, it was something intrinsic about Rod — a major symptom that we should have paid attention to, and probably would have except that the only alternative was Jim Ryan, who is not related to George Ryan, but of course his last name and the fact that he was a Republican probably confused a lot of people.

And so, six years and Judy Twinkletoes later, we have yet another lame-duck governor who is trying very hard to fly anyway. But this time the Springfield House must be out of breath after actually doing something about it.

Are we turning a corner here? Probably not; this is Illinois. But it’s nice to play pretend sometimes. After all, Blags and the Illinois Legislature have been doing that for years.