Sal DiMasi played his hand brilliantly in 2008, heading off any direct challenge through the formal seassions and leaving himself the master of his own fate. He could have dropped out of the election, or resigned before the new session began. Then he blew it, evidently deciding that he could hang on when there were more revelations to come. I guess I overestimated him.But at least Sal left an updated roll-call list of 'supporters' for future reference. ... Howie's money is on DeLeo becoming the next speaker (in more ways than one). But Hub Blog would like to appeal to lawmakers' sense of state pride and refrain from backing Bob. As noted late last year (scroll to very bottom), any state that considers itself a hard-ball political state needs a behind-the-scenes 'DeLeo' in order to qualify as a hard-ball political state. DeLeo would be front and center as speaker -- and a natural target for the feds. Illinois would then laugh in our face if we lost our DeLeo. This cannot happen. ... Speaking of Illinois, Blago goes on trial today and he's countering by appearing on "Good Morning America," "Larry King Live," "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" and "The View." How can we compete against these guys? The Illinois-Massachusetts competitive gap is growing, similar to the Silicon Valley-Route 128 competitive gap. Maybe promoting DeLeo isn't such as bad last-ditch idea. ... Massachusetts to Illinois: We'll match your Blago and raise you a DeLeo. Four House speakers in a row. Count 'em!