29.1.09

59-0. Private citizen Blagojevich.

Senators voted 59-0 to dump Blagojevich, who was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges. And, on a second vote minutes later, senators voted 59-0 to bar Blagojevich from ever holding elected office in Illinois again.

During a news conference tonight outside his Northwest Side home, Blagojevich said, “I predicted it. The fix was in from the very beginning.”

The art of politics is pretending that a self-serving act is an act in the public interest. Such was the tone of the governor's final speech. Such, too, was the tone of his judges.

This afternoon, it was clear senators felt little sympathy for Blagojevich, who is accused, among other things, of trying sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, which he had the sole power to appoint.

“I say we have this thing: impeachment. It’s bleepin’ golden, and we’ve used it the right way,” said Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago), reworking a line from Blagojevich’s criminal complaint.

But, in a news conference after the vote, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said “we find no pleasure” in the unanimous votes.

“We did not do this for political expediency. We’re not settling old scores,” Cullerton added. “We acted in the best interest of the people of this state.”

The private citizen's parting words, however, do not refute those claims.

As he emerged from that building, Blagojevich was asked by the Chicago Sun-Times why he didn’t tell Illinoisans he was sorry for subjecting the state’s 13 million residents to his choking legal and political problems, which have virtually shut down state government.

Blagojevich answered in three words before getting into his vehicle and heading back to Chicago on a state plane:

“Sorry for what?”

We will see what the government does, now that it can get back to the task of governing.

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