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Who took all those Eli Lilly [expletives] and whipped their ass,
Just like he promised he’d do?
Ain’t no Eli Lilly [expletives] gonna run this state.
Gonna be run by big-haired folks like me and you.

Ben’s portrait of Rod Blagojevich as Huey Long manqué has never been so appropriate as on the occasion of his closing argument. I have to admit it was a masterpiece of distracting populism, much less crazy than his prior appearances and featuring no infants or people in neck braces, and it’s the first time in a long time that I remember why anyone might have voted for him.

He’s still doomed. The immediate consensus on WGN TV right now is that the Senate’s just pissed he never brought any evidence. The Tribune state political editor, Jim Webb, isn’t sure he’ll be governor long enough to make it back to Chicago on the state plane. But like I’ve been saying, he was doomed anyway. I think the guy is so desperate for a job–that much is clear from the criminal complaint–that he feels reliant solely on his public reputation. Which, in Illinois, is mud.

So getting into a Springfield trench war over the impeachment, picking over evidence, having to answer possibly embarrassing questions, in the context of having to bolster what’s left of his public persona, would arguably hurt that. He’s set it up so that he can talk as much as possible on the terms most favorable to him. All things considered, I think it makes sense.

Though I also like Michael Miner’s theory, as inspired by John Updike: “Blagojevich knows he’s history but he’s trying to seize the moment, that brief moment when you’re gone when your memory just hangs there.”