I can’t really get too excited about the Tribune‘s honorable but futile gesture towards removing Blago from his sinecure, mostly because it seems like his incompetence is par for the course in Illinois politics. Kevin Robinson at Chicagoist thinks the takeaway lesson is that “the voters don’t really control the political process in this state,” which raises compelling questions about how a governor not heretofore known for his leadership abilities won a second term (in a craps game? did he get the Golden Ticket?). Hell, during the previous election he was running ads that were the political equivalent of “I know I haven’t been good to you, baby, but I promise I’ll change.” We got the guy we voted for.

No, Illinois voters have plenty of control. They may not have many options, thanks to the total implosion of the state Republican party, which bottomed out with the Alan Keyes Adventure, and the continuing strength of the city’s Democratic machine, but I’m hard-pressed to think who else to blame for Blagojevich and Todd Stroger, both of whom were victorious over not-crazy, tolerably moderate Republican opponents.

As someone who still believes in the redemptive power of journalism, I actually think the Sun-Times‘s effort to become a progressive voice is a good first step. Having two Republican papers in a Democratic-machine city, while impressively contrarian, has left Illinois Dems with no powerful internal critique. And they’ve gotten very, very lazy. Unless the netroots can gain a strong local foothold, which is a slow and complicated process, converting one of the state’s two most powerful papers into a Democratic voice that’s not part of the Democratic machine might [crosses fingers] be a turning point.