Pundits predicted a surreal scene in Springfield today with Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Impeached) swearing in the very Senate that will soon (almost certainly) remove him from office.
Note: While all this was happening in the Senate, the House also had its inauguration ceremony -- and voted again to impeach Blagojevich, this time 117-1.
But it wasn't so much surreal because anything weird happened -- there were no clowns on unicycles juggling bowling pins, and the governor did not appear in prison stripes and manacles -- but because of how normal the proceedings seemed. Even the impeachment reference somehow seemed to be about someone other than the guy standing up front and running the show. If only the live television coverage could have channeled everyone's thoughts there and displayed them in thought bubbles on the screen, then we could have had some fun.
The governor appeared slightly impatient and slightly unsure of himself at times, but then he's not used to being in Springfield or interacting with legislators. Here are some other thoughts I had as the afternoon unfolded.
- The governor probably has kept his car running outside.
- Scratch that. The governor probably has the state jet running outside.
- Former Gov. Jim Thompson, the most recent governor to elude prison, is present. Probably because Blagojevich owes him money.
- I thought I saw Dog the Bounty Hunter hanging around just in case Blago made a run for it.
- It would have been a lot sweeter if the invocation was done by Rick Warren, with readings from Tennyson.
- As the National Anthem nears its end, I wonder if the audience will start cheering, stomp their feet, and chant "Blago sucks! Blago sucks!"
- I wonder if the sign language translator next to Blago is actually sending messages to the potential jury pool, federal agents, or senators willing to cut a deal.
- The oath is to perform one's duties "to the best of your abilities." Hey, Blago did that. He's just not very able.
- I wonder if they could all be sworn into jail this way. Right now.
- Blago: "A quorom is now present." You may now convict me!
- As near as I could tell, Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) made both the first Obama reference and the first impeachment reference. She's 2-0!
- John Cullerton is elected state senate president. As he makes his way to the front of the chamber to be sworn in, the governor quotes Abraham Lincoln in asking for "malice toward none and charity to all" in the coming weeks. We get it, Blago.
- What were Emil Jones's parting words to Blago? My guess: “You’re on your own, kid.”