Say what you will about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but he's a terrific political talent.
Blagojevich, who was repeatedly booed during his appearance at the University of Illinois basketball team celebration, shared the stage Tuesday with some heavy hitters at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
President Bush was there, as were Illinois' two U.S. Senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. Members of the congressional delegation also were in attendance, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood.
Luminaries were everywhere, many of whom addressed the large crowd in attendance. Most shouldn't have said a word or kept it short.
In my humble view, Blago gave the best speech, both in terms of substance and delivery. Obama was second, and Bush third.
The others were passable, with the exception of U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, the Peoria Republican. If he's serious about running for governor, LaHood not only needs a speechwriter but a speech coach. He's a serious man, but that won't matter if he puts people to sleep or bores them with cliches.
But back to Blago. I don't consider him an intellectual, and I'm sure he didn't write his speech. But he's a smart guy who knows what to do when he's on public display. His speech was excellent, holding my attention even though he was among the last to take the microphone.
Many seem to not want to take Blago seriously. They suggest he's not bright or not a shrewd politician, even though he's never lost an election. That's a mistake. This guy should never be underestimated. He'll be tough competition in any election [–] no matter if it's in a Democratic Party primary or a general election. It's too bad the only thing that really interests him is winning the next election.