Governor Blagojevich of Illinois is set to name Roland Burris to Obama's seat.
Assuming this occurs as is expected, I agree with the move both politically and for the governor's legal circumstances.
First, Mr. Burris is totally qualified and apparently deserving. He seems to be the kind of hard working politician who never made to the big-time but was clearly successful.
This is good for Blagojevich's legal standing because it changes the narrative about him being crooked and on his way out. It is counter-programming. By choosing a qualified African American who seemingly hasn't "paid to play", Blago has challenged the Democratic establishment and the media to attack a black man. Even after Obama's victory, it is clear many people are obsessed about race, and any time a black man gets a chance to go to the Senate, he will want to go to the Senate. And I presume he will have the backing of all the major black groups.
The idea that Burris is tainted because of Blago would be contradicted by the facts. Who would care a week after he's sworn in?
I think the only issue is whether he will commit to not running again.
If Burris promises to be a caretaker for the seat, and looks at this as a crowning acheivement after a lifetime of public service, I think he will be seated by the Democrats in the Senate, no matter what they say now.
I don't think they have the moral standing not to seat him anyhow.
Think of all the alleged criminals in the Senate.
Think of all the people accused of many things who have been seated.
And with that standing, they're not going to seat a person who hasn't been accused of anything, because of the accusations about Blago?
Doesn't make sense.
As for Blago, he needs to change the atmosphere, and this pick is a good first step. He needs to convince people that he talks a big game but in the end this whole "scandal" was just politics as usual.
He can do this by performing all of his duties, fighting every charge, and promising to bring everyone else down with him.
It will work, if he does it.
However, I propose he take another course.
(Assuming he's guilty)
If he's not guilty, then take personal responsibility for what he has done, and don't take everyone down with you. Have some moral values and represent accountability. You played hardball and may be losing, don't attack everyone and the system.
I don't think our system is as broken as everyone thinks. We just need better people and better understanding of our system.
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois will name Roland Burris, a former state attorney general, to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the United States Senate, someone with knowledge of the governor’s plans confirmed on Tuesday.
Mr. Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges including allegations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama’s former senate seat for a high-paying job or money, had not been expected to try to fill the seat. As recently as ten days ago, his lawyer, Edward Genson, said he would not attempt to make an appointment, since Senate leaders had indicated they would not accept anyone whom the beleaguered Mr. Blagojevich had appointed.
Mr. Burris, 71 and a Democrat, is a longtime political player in this state, who has run for governor before, including mounting a primary challenge against Mr. Blagojevich. Mr. Obama backed him over Mr. Blagojevich in that race.
An aide to Mr. Obama said Tuesday that the news came as a surprise. The president-elect, who is vacationing in Hawaii, had no immediate comment.
The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times reported the planned appointment on their web sites today, saying that Governor Blagojevich would hold a news conference in Chicago at 2 p.m. Central time (3 p.m. Eastern) to make the announcement.
Mr. Blagojevich was arrested on Dec. 9 in the federal corruption case, prompting national and local political leaders of both parties to call for his resignation. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, warned him that he should ”under no circumstances make an appointment,” and Senator Dick Durbin, a fellow Democrat and the senior senator from Illinois, said that “no appointment by this governor could produce a credible replacement.” The Senate has the power to refuse to seat an appointed new member.
Mr. Burris is now senior counsel at the Milwaukee-based law firm of Gonzales Saggio & Harlan; a capsule biography of him is posted on the firm’s web site