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No guts, no prognostication points in politics Richard L. Connor Opinion

It is times such as these when a person wishes he had made public those privately held predictions that become reality.

It’s now clear that Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich never intended to resign once he was arrested and he always planned to name a replacement for the vacant U.S. Senate seat once occupied by President-elect Barack Obama.

Many of us could see these events unfolding while the rest of the nation awaited his resignation and fall from political grace.

Why didn’t we call it as we saw it? No guts.

This week, Blagojevich announced he had chosen Roland Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, to serve out Obama’s unexpired term. The Democrats in the Senate warned they wouldn’t seat any Blagojevich choice, but Burris says he’s headed to Washington anyway to take office on Jan. 6.

While we were all getting yet another laugh at Illinois politics, Rep. Danny K. Davis announced he had been offered the job a week ago but turned it down.

So Burris could argue he should be seated because no one wants the job. Someone has to represent Illinois. Might as well be him.

On talk radio, a hot question this week was: Why would he take the job?

Come on, now. You can’t be serious. People in public life, humble as they may appear and dedicated as they may be to public service, love the limelight. Politics is show biz. And, besides, there are the perks such as pension plans, a private gymnasium for the 100 members of the Senate, a three-day work week, low-cost insurance and medical care, just to name a few.

And, clearly, many Illinois politicians have no shame. What’s the problem here?

So, no more keeping predictions a secret.

Here’s the first for 2009.

Burris will show up on Jan. 6 to be seated and the president-elect’s inauguration will be marred by the continuation of this carnival sideshow.

Here’s the second.

Blagojevich might have a few light jabs landed on his pudgy little face but there will be no knockout punch. His hair will not get mussed.

He may leave office — eventually — but federal prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald will not put him behind bars.

Fitzgerald’s already stalling. While most of the nation was laughing incredulously about the Burris nomination, Fitzgerald was asking for a 90-day extension to indict Blagojevich.

It’s no surprise. So far all Fitzgerald has shown is that the governor discussed trading favors for the appointment to the vacated Senate seat. No one has shown proof of a criminal act.

Fitzgerald is the same guy who spent two years looking for White House leaks regarding the outing of the identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame.

When you look at the record on that case he did not accomplish much.

He indicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of lying but had his sentence commuted by President Bush. Other than that, all Fitzgerald had to show for his work was the jailing for 78 days of New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to reveal sources.

Fitzgerald does have one Illinois political corruption feather in his cap. He successfully prosecuted former Gov. George Ryan for selling illegal state licenses. Ryan’s in the slammer for six years.

But on his current big case, Fitzgerald’s office is fumbling about, asking for extensions to bring the indictment, and time is not on his side.

Blagojevich may lose his job before this is over but the way it looks right now, prison officials don’t have to save a spot for him on the license-making line in the federal penitentiary.

He might as well hire an agent to get him a spot on Comedy Central.

Let’s face it. This guy is entertaining.

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