The 2008 general election is almost nine months away, but you don't have to listen too closely to hear some of the first shots of the 2010 governor's race being fired.

There could be some loud fireworks the next time the Illinois Senate Democrats meet behind closed doors.

Governor Rod Blagojevich "It's been anticlimactic," sighed a top House Democratic operative last week when asked about some of the Chicago-area primary races.

I have no idea if a national recession is likely. Even economists don't seem to know for sure. Nobody really does.

But it has been interesting to watch Washington, D.C., react to the potential of a recession.

While I still think things will eventually calm down and Governor Rod Blagojevich's insistence that senior citizens be given free rides on all mass-transit systems will one day be viewed as a welcomed entitlement, it's obvious that lots and lots of Illinoisans don't feel that way right now.

Pure genius. Hot-dogging genius, of course, but brilliant nonetheless.

I'm referring to Governor Rod Blagojevich's announcement last week that he would abandon his much-repeated pledge to veto any tax hike "on people" and go ahead and approve a regional sales-tax hike to fund a mass-transit bailout for Chicagoland. His only caveat was that senior citizens must forever ride free on all transit districts in the state.

The most positive thing to come out of last week's umpteenth special legislative session was that Governor Rod Blagojevich didn't call another one for the next day.

I was on a TV show recently and the host asked me what I thought could be done to bring the Democratic leaders of Illinois back from "the brink of the abyss."

Too late, I said. We're already in the abyss, and we've been there for a while.

It could have been worse, I guess.

Now that Governor Rod Blagojevich has unilaterally declared that a previously obscure but always important legislative committee has no real power, things could change radically at the Illinois Statehouse.