Here's my (lightly edited) answer:
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.Politics is too important to leave it to the politicians.
Two birds, one stone.
But let's shift the focus from Illinois politicians to Illinoisans who've made their contributions outside politics:
How about Studs Terkel?
Mr. Terkel might not want to serve time away from his beloved city, but I'll bet all that material for a new book would be nearly irresistible.
Jeff Tweedy: "I am trying to break your heart." A continuous loop of that Wilco lyric could serve as the soundtrack to my political adulthood.
If we must send another lawyer, how about Scott Turow? In addition to being a successful novelist, he was was lead counsel in Operation Greylord.
And if we're gonna replace Sen. Obama with a white guy, how about a white guy born in another country? Jon Langford (Wales) and Martin Atkins (England) are not only accomplished Chicago-based musical entrepreneurs, they both have extensive experience with committee work through their leadership in the Mekons and Pigface, respectively. A record (pun!) of successful results with the strong-willed members of a cacophonous collective should be a prerequisite for any member of the Senate.
No more white boys? Then how about Kanye West? He's not only right on one of the most important issues facing our nation -- "America is set up to help, the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible" -- and it would be deeply ironic to replace the President of the Harvard Law Review with a "College Dropout."
And, although I don't know his politics and he hasn't been an Illinois resident for a while, what about Mike Singletary? We have a former Bear kicker as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, so why not a former Bear as Illinois' junior senator. Singletary was not only a legendary leader on the field, he has aspired to inspire ever since. And unlike other freshman Senators, Samurai Mike would bring the gravitas from day one.
Of the ladies...
Carol Marin. 'Nuff said.
Oprah. See Marin, Carol.
Mary Schmich -- Not because she's a well respected Trib columnist, an inadvertent Kurt Vonnegut ghost writer and EZ's pal. I'd want her in the Senate because I'd be interested in how Mary's Capitol Hill experience would be reflected in the daily adventures of Brenda Starr!
Nan Warshaw. Who? Nan is one of the founders of Chicago's Bloodshot Records and one of the driving forces in Chicago's music scene. Not only does she Get Things Done, Nan has witnessed first-hand -- again and again and again and again and again *-- the price hard-working, but randomly unlucky, Americans pay under our current, disastrous health care system. If Nan was in the Senate, we'd have single-payer, universal coverage in about six months.
Politics is too important to leave to the politicians.
Never forget it.
* Updated: and again