It's as simple as this: It's time to take the decision out of Rod Blagojevich's hands.

It's as simple as this: It's time to take the decision out of Rod Blagojevich's hands.


Since his arrest on Tuesday morning on federal corruption charges, it has become increasingly clear that Blagojevich cannot continue to serve as governor, cannot be allowed to appoint this state's next U.S. senator, cannot be allowed to make decisions about this state's policies or the use of its citizens' tax dollars. There are too many questions, too many doubts for any of us to believe any actions he takes are being made for the right reasons, and plenty of state business remains under his control.


Many different courses of action have been bandied about in the past few days, but with Blagojevich still bizarrely clinging to power - while maintaining his total innocence and professing he'll be exonerated to the ministers attending the obligatory prayer session that politicians in the bull's-eye inevitably seem to convene - this isn't a time for incrementalism. Every measure that has been suggested should be tried.


In an unprecedented move, Attorney General Lisa Madigan went to the state Supreme Court on Friday, asking the justices to declare the governor unable to perform his duties and force him to step aside, at least temporarily. Good for her. He's had plenty of time to consider a less disgraceful exit, and has elected not to make one. Three citizens representing a private, good-government group also have petitioned the Supreme Court for like remedy.


At the same time that process is going on, lawmakers returning to Springfield today cannot just be content to only move a measure taking the Senate appointment out of the governor's hands, though they should still do that. Legislators must also begin the impeachment process posthaste. Some leaders insisted that enough evidence existed before this scandal broke, so delays now make even less sense. Rank and file lawmakers need to insist on speedy hearings, the House leadership needs to commit to hold them and the Senate leadership must indicate they're prepared to convene a trial.


Springfield cannot count on Uncle Sam as a safety net, with U.S. Senate Democrats' guarantee that they won't seat a potential Blagojevich appointment now appearing to run afoul of a nearly 40-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling.


The interests and business of the state of Illinois need to come first, and never again should they intersect with Rod Blagojevich. If he won't go on his own, everything needs to be tried to show him the door. But no deals, not for a governor who has forfeited his leverage and the faith of the people who foolishly elected him.