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‘He’s been gone for such a long time’ ... Or has he?

Blagojevich could go back out there on the campaign trail tomorrow if need be, and not miss a beat. He launched into his old stump speech Wednesday as naturally as if he were campaigning for a third term, which luckily he is prohibited from doing.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, left; Rod Blagojevich, right.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, left, shakes hands with supporters before a news conference outside his Northwest Side home Wednesday; Rod Blagojevich, right, shakes hands at the end of his first trial in 2010.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP; Dom Najolia/ Chicago Sun-Times

Blago’s back, and there’s gonna be trouble.

Hey, la-di-la, Blago’s back.

(Sung to the tune of “My Boyfriend’s Back”)

Sorry, that’s probably not the serious reportage and commentary you’re seeking from this newspaper.

But I just returned from a couple of hours at the Sunnyside Circus on the Blagojevich front lawn, and if I had to treat it all seriously, I’d need to lay down and cry.

What was my favorite part?

The guy in the simian-like Blagojevich face mask carrying one of Blago’s 2006 campaign signs? Or the fellow marching around with the giant cutout poster of Blago’s pre-prison mug on a stick?

Maybe Ronnie “Woo-Woo” Wickers in full Cubs uniform — older, heavier and infinitely quieter than last seen? Or how about the intoxicated Trump supporter prattling on at the top of his lungs about how he was an ex-Marine, then taking his turn in front of the cameras as if it was Open Mic Night at the Wack-a-Doodle Improv?

Perhaps the woman with the heavy Eastern European accent who approached me and asked, “Are you a liberal, too?” in a tone of voice that suggested she wanted to spit on me.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets supporters after a news conference outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home Wednesday.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets supporters after a news conference outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home the day after he was released from a Colorado prison, Wednesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

No, the honor has to go to the man of the hour himself, that self-proclaimed “freed political prisoner” just returned from the Colorado penitentiary where they would have shot him dead if he’d gotten near the razor wire fence.

I’m talking about that newly-inspired champion of the underdog, his days of courting and conspiring with wealthy campaign donors and fundraisers now at an end, the former governor of the great State of Illinois and Donald Trump’s new best buddy (if just given a chance), Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich may have forgotten how to shave with a normal razor during his nearly eight years in prison, but he sure hasn’t forgotten how to talk.

It sounded like he’d been practicing in prison for a career as a motivational speaker. There’s money in that, you know, if you can get on the circuit.

Or Blagojevich could go back out there on the campaign trail tomorrow if need be, and not miss a beat. He launched into his old stump speech Wednesday as naturally as if he were campaigning for a third term, which luckily he is prohibited from doing.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets supporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home Wednesday.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets supporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home Wednesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

I’m really not expecting Trump to give Blagojevich the time of day, let alone a role in his campaign or anything else, now that he’s served the purpose of providing a partial distraction from some of the other egregious pardons he issued Tuesday.

To be clear, Blagojevich didn’t get a pardon. He’s still guilty in the eyes of the law, not that either he or Trump seem to be clear on the concept.

An unrepentant Blagojevich made clear he will continue to assert his innocence, as is his right. Just don’t forget a jury of his peers, a veteran judge and the U.S. Supreme Court considered the evidence and decided otherwise. But that will never stop him.

It’s not inconceivable Trump has something else up his sleeve for the future involving Blagojevich. He might even be willing to give the former governor a full pardon before he exits office if he executes his mission.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, and their two daughters, Annie and Amy (right), look on as he speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home on Wednesday.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, Patti Blagojevich, and their two daughters, Annie and Amy (right), look on as he speaks to reporters outside the family’s Ravenswood Manor home on Wednesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The combination of Trump supporters and Blagojevich supporters is certainly an interesting combination, as could be observed from the ex-governor’s well-trampled front lawn on West Sunnyside in Ravenswood Manor.

On hand to show their love for Blagojevich were many of those fans who regularly attended his trials along with an array of “community activists” who are attracted to such events like moths to the flame.

A guy shouted “Trump nation” as he walked along the edge of the crowd. I couldn’t tell whether he was the same guy wanting to know why Blagojevich had yet to install a Trump yard sign.

On Tuesday, I implored Blagojevich to just go away quietly and leave us in peace, and I don’t count anything he does in this first week against him in that regard. We wouldn’t leave him alone if he begged.

There were more reporters on that lawn than covering Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address in Springfield.

That’s on us, of course, and I apologize on behalf of the profession, but it’s hard to turn away when the circus comes back to town.