Blagojevich impeached

BLAGOJEVICH IMPEACHED…. Last night, Illinois’ investigative committee, made up of members of both parties, voted unanimously to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). Today, the full state House followed suit.

In a historic vote, the Illinois House has impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich, directing the Senate to put the state’s 40th chief executive on trial with the goal of removing him from office.

The vote by the House was 114-1 and marks the first time in the state’s 190-year history that a governor has been impeached, despite Illinois’ longstanding reputation for political corruption.

Rep. Milt Patterson (D-Chicago) was the lone vote against impeaching the governor. Patterson, from Chicago’s Southwest Side, said after the roll call that he didn’t feel it was his job to vote to impeach the governor. He declined comment on whether he approved of the job Blagojevich is doing.

I’m not sure what Patterson’s talking about — who else’s job could it be? — but the lack of unanimity doesn’t much matter. The issue now heads to the state Senate for a trial, which is set to begin next week.

The process is a relatively slow one — the Tribune noted that the trial is “expected to take at least three weeks.” If two-thirds of the chamber votes to convict, Blagojevich would be removed from office, and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would become the state’s new chief executive.

As for Blagojevich, who was jogging during the House proceedings, he has vowed not to resign, but will hold a press conferences this afternoon at 3 p.m. eastern.

It seems almost odd that Blagojevich doesn’t just step down with at least a shred of dignity, and say he wants to devote all of his energies to his criminal defense, but given what we know of the governor, expecting rational behavior is asking too much.