Bits and pieces of six years flashed before my eyes as I watched members of the Illinois House on Friday express their frustration with a governor who, they have now decided, has gone so far beyond the bounds of decent governance that he must be bumped from his job.

Bits and pieces of six years flashed before my eyes as I watched members of the Illinois House on Friday express their frustration with a governor who, they have now decided, has gone so far beyond the bounds of decent governance that he must be bumped from his job.


That debate and Gov. Rod Blagojevich's remarks later in the day from Chicago made it clear that a very familiar pattern was being played out.


Once again, lawmakers were dealing with serious matters in Springfield while the governor was away in Chicago. They acted, and he reacted by calling a news conference in which he attacked them and claimed that he was really the prince riding on the high horse of helping people. They, the lowly legislators — in the House this time, as in most other times, in the governor’s view — were merely standing in the way.


Blagojevich, who is facing federal criminal charges, did the usual. He said he was legally pure, attacked anyone in his way, and rounded up some people who have been helped by his programs to stand with him to make it a show.


As has the been case recently, he didn’t take questions. He answers to no one except, he would say, the people. But given the 114-1 vote for impeachment, the criminal charges against him based largely on his own recorded words, and the way sentiment in the General Assembly has evolved, the governor may well be out of office quite soon.


The fact that Blagojevich has visited Springfield so rarely could not have helped his cause.


House Republican Leader Tom Cross agreed that the governor’s usual absence from the Statehouse became part of the “totality” that led to a near-unanimous impeachment.


“No one is inclined to want to give a guy a break when he’s fought with him, attacked him,” Cross said. “And I think not being down here … that all hurts him. It’s not the only reason, but it plays into the factors.”


Everything in the impeachment report, Cross said, is “part of the totality.”


And now, on to the Senate.


Bernard Schoenburg is political columnist for The State Journal-Register. He can be reached at (217) 788-1540 or bernard.schoenburg@sj-r.com.