According to Greek mythology, a cursed Narcissus became riveted by his own reflection in a pond. Apparently unaware that he was staring at himself, Narcissus bent over the water to kiss the image, only to fall in and drown. That splash is threatening to be repeated in Illinois, where sadly the curse - not to mention the joke - is on us. Between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Roland Burris, it can be difficult to tell which one has exaggerated his sense of self to more pathological proportions.

According to Greek mythology, a cursed Narcissus became riveted by his own reflection in a pond. Apparently unaware that he was staring at himself, Narcissus bent over the water to kiss the image, only to fall in and drown.


That splash is threatening to be repeated in Illinois, where sadly the curse - not to mention the joke - is on us. Between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Roland Burris, it can be difficult to tell which one has exaggerated his sense of self to more pathological proportions.


OK, OK, so Blagojevich is the winner, hands down, but give Burris time. On Monday the newly minted senator said, "If there was no Martin Luther King Jr. and no Roland Burris" - he's fond of speaking of himself in the third person - "there would be no Barack Obama in the White House today."


We're sure the president is forever grateful.


But for the time being, Burris can't hold a candle - make that a mirror - to Blagojevich, who last week likened himself to the civil rights icon King, former South African president and apartheid-era martyr Nelson Mandela and even Gandhi. Can a comparison to Jesus of Nazareth be far behind, with the Illinois Senate now conducting his impeachment trial described as a modern-day Sanhedrin?


The fall into farce is not yet complete, unfortunately. Indeed, the governor spent Monday running the gauntlet of TV talk shows, in a futile attempt to save his reputation, if not his job (which even he seems to know is history). Fat chance of that, as we witnessed Blagojevich getting his Big Boy-style hair mussed on "The View," claiming he considered Oprah for the seat Burris is now warming, being called a "potty mouth" and almost letting himself get talked into saying, "I am not a crook," a la Richard Nixon.


The governor is such a train wreck, you want to avert your eyes, but can't. We really do wish he'd stop saying he's being impeached because "I went around the Legislature to give every senior citizen free public transportation, because I went around the Legislature ... to give every uninsured women breast and cervical cancer screening ... because I did things for people." That's all a lie. He's not being tried because he opposed tax increases, either.


At least Barbara Walters did ask the threshold question, noting the governor's 7 percent job approval rating, the lowest in the nation: "For the sake of your state, for your own dignity, wouldn't it be better if you resigned?" The governor responded that he didn't want to disappoint his children, but we're afraid it's too late for that. Perhaps he should have thought of his family before he put this state's government up for sale, well in advance of his alleged auctioning of the Senate seat.


We know it's lame to even try to absolve ourselves, as the curse of Blagojevich is entirely self-inflicted, but here goes anyway. From us in Illinois to you in the rest of America: We're not all this way.


It's exceedingly sad, really, to see the governor participating so enthusiastically in his own grotesquely public demise. Why, even attorney Ed Genson, who defends mobsters, has abandoned Blagojevich. He's about as close to utterly alone as any public figure ever gets.


And with each passing Senate session, we are one day closer to Rod Blagojevich being utterly out of the way. Tick, tock, tick, tock ... Won't be long now.


Peoria Journal Star