The Washington Times - January 30, 2009, 08:46AM

Once every generation, a politician emerges who captures the imagination of the masses and unites the electorate in a common goal, casting aside the petty partisan differences that divide us.

In our time of economic distress and uncertainty, such a politician has come to the fore.  His name is Rod Blagojevich.

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No other politician has done as much to bring together Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, prosecutors and mob bosses than Rod Blagojevich.  Just witness the unanimous votes in the Illinois Senate to expel him from office — or the high ratings he generated in his appearance on “The View.”

Politicians like Rod Blagojevich are rare creatures: They are hybrids, like hothouse flowers, or myths, like man-bear-pig.  They are seldom appreciated for what they provide for us.  He gave us perspective.

After all, no matter how bad things became for some of us, we could say, “Well, at least I’m not Rod Blagojevich.”

Whenever we met a politician who was arrogant, self-serving, greedy and vulgar, we could ask ourselves, “How does he compare to Rod Blagojevich?”  The answer always would reveal that the politician wasn’t so bad after all.

When faced with an ethical dilemma, we could say, “What would Rod Blagojevich do?” — and then do the opposite, knowing we were doing the right thing.

So now that Rod Blagojevich has been kicked out of the governor’s office, barred from ever holding public office in Illinois and banned for life from the Hall of Fame by Major League Baseball, let us take a moment to reflect.

We will miss you, Rod.  We hardly knew ye — and that thing on your head.

Godspeed.