Bobby Rush (D-IL) Dares Democrats Not To Seat An African-American

If you haven't seen the complete train wreck that is the press conference during which Rod Blagojevich announced his appointment of Roland Burris to Barack Obama's Senate seat, I highly recommend it. It begins with Blagojevich and Burris acting as though they exist in some alternate universe in which anyone Blago appoints is going to be taken seriously and ends with Rep. Bobby Rush essentially daring the Democrats in the US Senate to deny an African-American the seat being vacated by the first African-American president.

It's unfortunate that Rush would allow Blagojevich to use him in this way (notice how Burris and Blago call Rush up in quasi impromptu fashion to speak at the presser.) The fact is that Democrats' opposition to seating Blago's appointment is color blind and certainly not seating Burris does not preclude there being another African-American representing Illinois in the US Senate. Something tells me that Blago is smiling tonight realizing that he is putting Harry Reid et al in a difficult position.

Watch it to believe it:

Update [2008-12-30 18:6:10 by Todd Beeton]:Via e-mail, here is Barack Obama's statement on the appointment:

Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it. I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy.

Tags: Barack Obama, Bobby Rush, IL-Sen, Rod Blagojevich, roland burris (all tags)

Comments

100 Comments

From a political perspective

this is high theater, playing out just as expected.

As an AA, however, this incredibly blatant race-card is just...frustrating/sickening. Right off the bat, we know a lot about Burris' character, that he would stoop to this.

by Neef 2008-12-30 01:08PM | 0 recs
I don't agree

If Burris is a decent guy, he might see it as something good coming out of a bad situation.  I haven't yet been convinced that he even knew beforehand that Blagojevich was going to name him.

If I were Blagojevich (and it's pretty clear to some here that I might as well be :P ), I would name Burris as an out-of-the-blue potshot to throw my opponents into chaos.  I wouldn't even tell Burris; he could learn about it in the press conference.

I don't know Burris well enough to say for sure either way whether he's cynical enough to "play" with Blago... but if he deserves the seat, then I say, accept the appointment just to take it off Blago's gun rack.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 01:19PM | 0 recs
I concede he might see it as

an end justifies means thing. But as a professional black man AND a longtime chicago pol, I have to believe he knows when he's been picked as a token (i.e. primarily for race).

by Neef 2008-12-30 01:25PM | 0 recs
So what?

A lot of people thought that Obama was a token in the first place.  I'm okay with him being president now.

I don't see how it matters if (and only if) Burris is a fine candidate for the job.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:19AM | 0 recs
Burris may make a good Senator

but he was picked as someone else's political pawn. Someone who he castigated not two weeks before. That's not even on the same planet as Obama's 2-year battle.

by Neef 2008-12-31 04:41AM | 0 recs
I didn't say it was equal

It's a lesser example, to be sure, but Blago isn't in the position to make anybody his pawn.  Burris wouldn't owe the guy shit.  Blago could ask for a favor once Burris is in office and Burris could tell him to take a leap off the Sears Tower.

The whole point of this exercise is that pay-to-play does not play in today's political climate.  If you think Burris is definitely compromised by taking this offer, you're buying into Blago's mentality.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:46AM | 0 recs
How decent can Burris be?

He's got to know that Blago's looking to throw a spanner in the works. Only the rest of the world does. This is nothing more than one shameless opportunist appointing another.

Blago's recalcitrance over resigning should have any decent democrat not want to touch him with a bargepole. Yet, there he is smugly accepting a tainted appointment that almost everyone in the party had warned Blagojevich against. That reporter's allegation about Burris' $14K Blagojevich campaign contribution only adds to the stink swirling about this appointment.

Burris was never on the short list to begin with. In more ways than one, he's allowing his personal ambitions to ride roughshod over the desires of the new administration, and adding to the Blagojevich circus. And there is nothing decent about that.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-30 07:44PM | 0 recs
Does not compute

Your logic is flawed.  Yes, Blagojevich is almost certainly a corrupt sleazebag who deserves to get canned.  He's also still the governor of Illinois and is responsible for the state's well-being.

Should state employees send their paychecks back because ultimately Blago is in charge of distributing the budget that pays them?  Should his wife and kids start living in the street because the guy they live with is a jackhole?  Where does it end?

There's a lot of ways that this could be playing out.  For all we know, the Burris nomination is just Blago's big "fuck you" to the world for catching him red-handed and the first thing Burris would do as a senator is call for Blago's resignation.

I don't know anything about this for sure, but I do know that sometimes bad people do good things, and the fact that they're bad does not subtract from the overall good result.

Confirm Burris, impeach Blago, the good guys win.  Burris probably wouldn't even run in 2010; the guy is, like, 71 or something.  Another situation where rules for appointees don't have to be the same as elected officials.  We've been having trouble with this lately here.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:28AM | 0 recs
What part does not compute?

Burris' nomination is absolutely Blago's big FU to the world - let's not pretend there's any question about that.

And when it comes to flawed logic, I'm baffled at how how you can compare the compensation of state employees to the Burris nomination. Had Burris been nominated prior to the scandal erupting, there might have been some merit to that argument - and there'd still be some degree of apples and oranges to that analogy.

Burris is hardly the helpless innocent in the current proceedings. I don't dispute that he may well be qualified for the position, but there's clearly a more legitimate path that he could have followed to this end.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 06:08AM | 0 recs
I don't think so

This is a smart legal move for Blago.  He is accused of trying to sell the seat.  If he gives it to Burris without a quid pro quo, it weakens the government's case, especially if they don't have any evidence that a quid pro quo already occurred (which seems likely).  Blago cannot be convicted for stating an intention to sell the seat.  He has to actually take a step to sell the seat.  His defense is bolstered by a taint-free appointment of a respected state politician.  I think it probably also makes him happy to screw the party, but I am not sure that is his primary motive.

by orestes 2008-12-31 08:31AM | 0 recs
Agreed there

I've little doubt that saving his own hide ranks high on Blago's priority list. That it lets him flip the proverbial bird at his former colleagues calling for his resignation is the icing on the cake.

Burris was probably not one of the candidates he was hoping to extort from, so it's probably a watertight appointment in that sense. I don't see how it weakens the government's case, though - doing the right thing after being caught red-handed merely gives the Feds one less reason to go after you. It'd be the blindingly obvious thing to do.

by Sumo Vita 2009-01-01 04:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed there

I agree that Blago's subsequent remedial measure would not help his case, but if the government only has his bloviations regarding wanting to get something in return, his appointing Burris without a quid pro quo undermines intent.

by orestes 2009-01-02 12:38PM | 0 recs
Ok, maybe I do see the point you're trying to make

But for that, you'd have to buy into Blago's claim that this appointment is little more than a conscientious governor going about his duty running the state.

Sorry, I don't. Not to mention that at least one reason this appointment is tainted by scandal is because Blago refused to do the honorable thing and step down right away.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 06:19AM | 0 recs
He wants to roll the dice. That's his perrogative

For all we know, maybe Blagojevich has seen the error of his ways and he thinks that he's trying to fix things by giving (former opponent) Burris a chance that he had been hoping for his entire life.  Unlikely, true, but we just don't know what's going on in his head for certain.

Blago is warped, is what I'm saying.  Maybe he thinks he IS doing the honorable thing.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:19AM | 0 recs
Occam's Razor, Drac

The simplest explanation is that Blago decided to stick it to his detractors, and found the most ruthlessly efficient way to do so. He flexes his muscles, makes the Dems look weak AND puts the seat at risk - I don't think Burris is expected to win if he runs.

Where I do agree with you is the fact that we can't ignore the legality of the pick just because it's a big F-you. Nor do I expect there is any unethical stuff going on, part of the point of picking Burris would be an unimpeachable record.

by Neef 2008-12-31 07:33AM | 0 recs
That's the only important thing here

Where I do agree with you is the fact that we can't ignore the legality of the pick just because it's a big F-you. Nor do I expect there is any unethical stuff going on, part of the point of picking Burris would be an unimpeachable record.

And really, that's all that matters here.  

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:43AM | 0 recs
He can't step down

That would be tantamount to admitting guilt.  He has a criminal proceeding against him.  His best means of fighting that is to stay in office.  I can't imagine his lawyers would ever encourage him to resign.

by orestes 2008-12-31 08:33AM | 0 recs
Agreed with you on the race card..Blago

shamefully wants to exploit the situation by trying to divide the Democrats as they proceed with his impeachment. I hope Blago's lawyers are advising him well, because impeachment is probably least of his worries.

by louisprandtl 2008-12-30 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed with you on the race card..Blago

Maybe he chose an AA because he thought it was the right thing to do considering the outgoing senator is black and there is no AA representation in the senate today.  Isn't Caroline Kennedy being considered in NY at least in part because she is a woman.  The talk in NY is that a woman should succeed HRC in her seat.  

by orestes 2008-12-31 08:34AM | 0 recs
So three weeks after claiming

the seat was f**king gold, he has become an altruist?

by Neef 2008-12-31 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: So three weeks after claiming

I'm not saying that.  My comment was in response to someone saying he is playing a race card.  I don't think that is necessarily the case, as many people expect/would like to see an AA fill Obama's seat and a woman fill HRC's seat.

by orestes 2008-12-31 10:15AM | 0 recs
Seat An African-American

Bobby Rush, former black panther, fervent anti-white racist.  Yeah, I'd want that endorsement.

by Vox Populi 2008-12-30 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Seat An African-American

Isn't Rush also the guy who crushed Obama in a primary for Congress in 2000?

I gotta say, there's an operatic and epic quality to this story that makes it hard not to want to see it continue. As awful as it is for Illinois, the Obama admin and the country. There's a great political novel to be written here.

by desmoulins 2008-12-30 02:55PM | 0 recs
Yep

Isn't Rush also the guy who crushed Obama in a primary for Congress in 2000?

The same.  Imagine how things might have been different if Obama had been in congress for the AUMF and Patriot Act.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:48AM | 0 recs
you have something against the Panthers?

what, exactly, is an anti-white racist?  There's a reason so many in the black community supported the Panthers and why people in his district keep electing Rush.  In the case of his district he represents vox populi.  You might try taking that history more seriously.

by Thaddeus 2008-12-30 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: you have something against the Panthers?

Yeah, I think I have a problem with an organization dedicated to violence that murdered police officers.  He attacked Obama in 2000 because of Obama's mixed blood (he wasn't "black" enough).  He doesn't care who sits in the Senate seat as long as they are black (no whites allowed).

If you need someone to explain to you what an anti-white racist is, then you're beyond my help.

by Vox Populi 2008-12-31 04:17AM | 0 recs
Re: you have something against the Panthers?

We actually have 99 whites, so to say "no whites allowed" is silly.

I think it is a huge problem that women and minorities are underrepresented in the Senate. I think a woman should be appointed to replace Clinton. Rush mentioned that the appointee should be black because Obama is black. He made decent arguments although his frame for them was pretty militant.

by Lolis 2008-12-31 04:30AM | 0 recs
No whites allowed?

Is that what you hear when Rush says there should be at least ONE African-American in the Senate?

Hmmn.  I'd say your problem isn't sensitivity to anti-white racism--I'd say it's the old-fashioned straight up racism.

And you apparently know squat about the Panthers.  See, they were the ones getting shot by the cops, not so much the other way around.  

Vox populi?  Uh, no.

by Thaddeus 2009-01-05 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: No whites allowed?

Listen, professor, what I'm saying is that Rush didn't support a Blago appointment until he found out the nominee was black.  Having a black Senator is the first and only consideration in Rush's deteriorating mind.

Further, Rush is race baiting and attacking good Democrats for "lynching this good man" (Burris).  On NPR the other day, he compared Reid to Bull Connors and George Wallace.  This from the same man who mocked Obama as too white to represent their district.

Bobby Rush is an embarrassment but even more so is your defense of him.

by Vox Populi 2009-01-07 01:00AM | 0 recs
Re: No whites allowed?

And I'd say having one black senator out of 100 is a very worthy consideration.  

Today Harry Reid described Burris as "engaging and a nice man" after a 30 minute meeting and that "he presents himself well."

He presents himself well?  Well, Vox, I can assure you that there are a lot of black folks who heard that as damning with faint praise a man who was attorney general AND controller of Illinois.  Reid treated the meeting as a job interview (Michelle Norris's expression on NPR, not mine, but then again she is half black and possibly biased?  and a former student of mine).

Worse...Durbin had to say that Burris acknowledged at the beginning of the meeting that her knew their resistance to his entering the senate had "nothing to do with my race."  Why did Durbin have to say that?  Well, yesterday he was turned away from the Senate by the segeant-at-arms without even meeting with Reid.  Wouold this have happened to Jan Schakowsky or Lisa Madigan?  I doubt it.  Again, a former attorney-general appointed to the senate by the governor of his state--the way it's supposed to happen.

Have you done the research yet on the Panthers?  I suggest reading about the death of Fred Hampton--in Chicago.

Yes, I didn't like the electronic lynching quote either, or the comparison to Bull Connor but  

by Thaddeus 2009-01-07 12:33PM | 0 recs
Rush was way out of line...

Good thing Obama threw him under the bus...

by SaveElmer 2008-12-30 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Rush was way out of line...

Rush handed Obama's ass to him when Obama ran against him in the primary for Rush's house seat.  Figuratively bitch slapped him on live TV (Chicago Tonight WTTW/PBS) and really made him look bad.  Rush is Obama's kryptonite, so don't expect Obama to go anywhere near where Rush is walking.

Bobby Rush may not be everyone's cup of tea, but is no moron, he has represented his constituency and spoken out on behalf of his district.  He screwed up when he ran for mayor, but he gave even Daley pause.  

You heard it here first, Blago picked Burris to force him onto the senate floor so Rush can run for senate next time.  This is a coldly calculated move much like Ryan's death row moratorium: Blago gets a national FU for everyone having such fun at his travails (yeah he is that big of an ego), he screws up the US Senate since he can no longer go there himself, and he empowers Rush to be a hurricane on the national stage in the near future.

Burris is an odd bird, he was Comptroller under Thompson for 8 years and AG under Edgar for 4, he's run for a ton of stuff and lost most of his primaries-against Blago for guv was the latest.  That said, his consultant group has strings from contracts and lobby-like fees running from him to Blago on bond sale consultant fees and a 12 month $5k/month contract his group had with the state.

Burris donated $1,000 in June this year to Blago, and $1,500 last November, and no telling how much else buried in PAC's and other cover groups, so despite the apparent fire sale pricing, Blago is still in the pay to play, and  so Burris is not clean.

Well, he's Illinois clean, which anywhere else is not clean.

by markt 2008-12-30 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Rush was way out of line...

Who says Bobby Rush is going for Senate?

For one thing, he's Congressman for life in his district; for another thing, he knows he would not win a statewide election, and for a third, it looks from the video that he's in terrible health and more likely to retire soon than to exhaust himself running all over the state.

by admiralnaismith 2008-12-30 07:32PM | 0 recs
Ohhh...man

I suspect the guy that built this

Will do what he needs to do to be Senator.

Yeah. It DOES say "Trail Blazer".

by Neef 2008-12-30 01:48PM | 0 recs
What a pompous little egomaniac.

I'm with you, Neef. Anyone willing to give any further legitimacy to Blagojevich deserves nothing more than contempt. I hope he's unceremoniously dumped by the Senate, and quickly.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-30 07:53PM | 0 recs
this is SO overblown

This doesn't put the Senate in a spot at all.

They said what they're going to do and then a probable criminal tried to defy them. Afterward, with the backing of the country's first African-American President, they reaffirmed this despite Blag's choice of a respectable African-American politician.

The first time Harry Reid has EVER shown spine and I read fifty news sites saying that this puts him in a spot.

It doesn't. Blag has no credibility and no popular backing. What's he going to do? Nothing! He can't!

This is a gigantic contro-faux-sy.

by jmendonsa 2008-12-30 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: this is SO overblown

I agree.  Obama has made it clear that this appointment should not stand.  So I guess that Rush thinks this will make Obama racist?   Maybe because Obama's mother was White, Rush does not think Obama is Black enough.

Anyway, if Burris really wanted to gain support, he should have told Blago NO.  The fact that he gladly accepted it and even appeared at the news conference with Blago shows to me that he might not be all that upstanding.  This is pretty much a guaranteed way to give this seat to the GOP in 2010.

At this point, if Burris wants the seat, he should run for it in an open election.

by gavoter 2008-12-30 02:12PM | 0 recs
what if blago is impeached before this is resolved

Via Campaign Diaries:

"What happens if Burris drags the Senate to court for refusing to seat him (a suit he should win based on precedent) but the Illinois state legislature impeaches Blagojevich and elevates Pat Quinn as Governor before the court renders its decision? Could Pat Quinn cancel Blagojevich's decision and appoint a new Senator since Burris would not yet be seated?

Would that depend on whether Jesse White has certified the appointment? Even if White has no legal right not to sign the document, he could potentially delay legal proceedings long enough for the legislature to impeach Blagojevich."

by LeftistAddiction 2008-12-30 02:19PM | 0 recs
by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: EGO

lol

And folks are worried about Caroline Kennedy.

by Vox Populi 2008-12-30 02:40PM | 0 recs
Okay that's messed up

I'll admit that's pretty eccentric.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:53AM | 0 recs
shameful

wow - the demeaning of a extremely qualified man, better than most of those names I'd read about during the replacement speculation earlier - and a leader of black liberation - Rush - is just shameful. bicker over blago, but to call him a token black is just beyond the pale. i wonder if some people just read back over their comments the day after.

according to the SCOTUS there's nothing that can be done but seat him now, constitutionally, until a special-election is held to fill the seat. well, seat him, then expel him from the senate would be the only other option.

by swissffun 2008-12-30 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: shameful

What's demeaning is Bobby Rush so blatantly playing the race card against his own fellow Democrats.

Nobody has a problem with a black candidate replacing Obama.  Truthfully, it would probably be better if that's what ultimately happens.  But for Rush to come out and refer to any efforts to prevent Burris' appointment as "lynching" is a absolutely disgusting, and any REAL victims of lynching should be turning over in their graves at his flamboyant use of that highly loaded word.

I guess AFRICAN-AMERICAN Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White muct be a card-carrying Klan member, as he's said that he won't sign off on this appointment.  Obama must hate black people, too, since he's siding with the Senate Dems on this one.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 03:35PM | 0 recs
Obama's statement took the air

out of the race balloon put out by Bobby Rush.  By siding with the Sen Dems, that gave them cover against the race card being played against them.

by puma 2008-12-30 03:20PM | 0 recs
Interesting

I was listening to Al Sharpton's radio show on XM's The Power station (something I hadn't listened to in a long time) and he had a bunch of people from Chicago talking negatively about the Irish machine controlling Illinois Democratic politics, playing on Jesse White's last name and playing up the importance of an African-American to retain the seat. It was an interesting perspective to say the least.

I'm not from Illinois so I don't know how indicative the guests on Sharpton's show are of AA sentiment in that state, but this could be a problem for Democrats. I know there is an undercurrent here in Maryland from some AA as to why Democrats haven't elected an AA for either a Gubernatorial or Senate post despite making up about 50% of the electorate in a Democratic primary and one-third of the overall electorate. I guarantee you when Mikulski retires in the next few years that this issue is going to come to head in this state.

With Obama no longer in the Senate, why are there no longer any African-Americans in the Senate and what can we do to diversify the Senate a bit more?

by ademption 2008-12-30 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting

Jesse White is an African-American.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Bobby Rush (D-IL) Dares Democratsa

After the Lieberman fiasco where Democrats not refer to him as  a Senator but as a DEMOCRATIC senator, and make deals with him, do I really care to summon enough outrage over Blago appointing this guy? At this point, I am going to save my outrage for other issues. As long as Blago is punished, I am happy.

Since Blago has already named his appointment, what is stopping Burris from saying he does not approve of what Blago has done? He has the appointment already. Burris could have it both ways by doing that.

by Pravin 2008-12-30 04:10PM | 0 recs
I agree

I would think most people would be outraged-out by this point.

Anyway, I have no idea if Burris is an OK guy or not, but if I were him, I'd accept the nomination and immediately call for Blago's impeachment.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 04:55AM | 0 recs
I know he is

That's why it was interesting to hear the lack of support for him from Sharpton's guests and the play of his last name White and his supporting the Irish machine etc.

by ademption 2008-12-30 04:11PM | 0 recs
sorry

this comment was meant to reply to Obamaphile's comment to me.

by ademption 2008-12-30 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Bobby Rush (D-IL) Dares

Rush was hilarious here.

And, the point won't go away.

There is nobody with a more sterling reputation than Roland Burris. He wasn't on anyone's 'list'.

Blago just played hardball..unbelievable hardball.

I love it, and fully support Roland Burris. I'd be proud to have him as my Senator.

by rikyrah 2008-12-30 06:13PM | 0 recs
I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

if Reid does not want to guarantee one less IL Dem for the next six years. Let Burris be seated.. whether or not he makes it thru the primary is another thing. If you want to guarantee one less senate dem I dare Reid.

The only time Reid/Hoyer/Pelosi have any balls is when it comes to to f#@King up other dems and progressive people initiatives that they paid lip service to in the past. Their hands are always tied to push for what is right, if one repug starts a temper tantrum. Gov Blago may be tainted, but Burris is not.

I dare Reid...

by FLS 2008-12-30 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

If Burris had any scruples, he'd have refused the appointment. If he is as qualified as you claim, there's no reason why he wouldn't have been in the running for the more legitimate appointment made by Blago's replacement once he's been impeached or otherwise frog marched out of the governor's mansion.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-30 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

Where were Reid's scruples during the whole Lieberman fiasco?
Where were the Democrats scruples when time came to act as checks on Bush's bailouts.
Where were the Democrats scruples during the buildup on the Iraq war.

While I was initially outraged by the whole Blago deal, I merely find it comical now because we are fortunate enough to have seen this clown expose himself for the corrupt narcissist he is. What is more challenging is rooting out the subtle corruption among our senators.

by Pravin 2008-12-31 03:07AM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

Which Lieberman fiasco? It was Obama's weighing in on the matter that allowed Lieberman to stay.

And I agree that the Dems have been spineless in the past, but how exactly is this rationale or recommendation for Burris?

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 04:17AM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

I actually didnt mean to say you were wrong. Just expressing the view that scruples is not something i associate with a lot of our senators.

But yeah,  I would agree to some extent that Burris should have not been so quick to be associated with Blago. Maybe Reid shoud give Burris a guarantee that he would be appointed Senator if he took himself out temporarily now. That is assuming Burris is qualified.

by Pravin 2008-12-31 04:25AM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

Burris wasn't one of the names being circulated earlier - so I see his embrace of Blago's "appointment" as nothing more than opportunistic. For the same reason, I don't think he should be made any sorts of promises. Why should he be able to leapfrog the other contenders, just because Blago wants to play hardball?

The same process that would have been followed prior to this blatant power play should apply. Blago's replacement should be free to choose whoever he or she deems most suitable, with no promises whatsoever made to Burris.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 05:36AM | 0 recs
the process does not matter

the Gov gets to appoint whoever he or she wants.

by FLS 2008-12-31 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I dare Reid not to seat Burris also...

But the governor has the right to appoint.  He is not onligated to choose from a list of approved contenders.  There is no leapfrogging here.  Blago cannot be forced not to exercise his executive authority simply because he may be impeached or people think he's dirty.  He has legal authority and there's nothing to be done about it.

by orestes 2008-12-31 08:46AM | 0 recs
Nothing to be done about it?

I'd say the Senate Democrats disagree with you.

Of course the governer isn't obligated to choose from a list of approved hopefuls. Clearly he isn't obligated to show integrity with his appointments either. That doesn't mean that those like Burris should be rewarded for playing along, especially when it breaks the party's solified front against Blago.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 09:34AM | 0 recs
Reid is being an idiot.


If he'd fought the Republicans as viciously as he's willing to fight his fellow Democrats, we'd have 60 by now.

Seems to me, Blago threw the party a lifeline by appointing a squeaky-clean party stalwart who will either serve well and earn a term in his own right, or be defeated in the next primary.  Senate Democrats have the opportunity to seat him and get their 59th Senator while saving face.  If they're smart they'll welcome him into the fold instead of trying to relitigate the Adam Clayton Powell case.

by admiralnaismith 2008-12-30 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid is being an idiot.

The kind of "squeaky-clean stalwart" that builds miniature monuments to himself, that can't even win a primary, that selfishly snaps up a Senate appointment - and in doing so, legitimizes a self-serving rogue like Blago - that is not the kind of representative that we need in the Senate.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-30 08:06PM | 0 recs
You can't be sure.

The monument thing is incredibly eccentric, but not innately bad.  The guy is in his seventies; if I had the money and the inclination, I might do something similar for a lark.

The primary thing is irrelevant for an appointee, and I'm perfectly happy with a Chicago politician playing hardball against someone who is also playing hardball but is also corrupt.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: You can't be sure.

So we overlook what still appears to me to be an opportunistic power-grab on Burris' part. So maybe Burris isn't too terrible a guy. That still doesn't explain why he should be able to jump the line over all other contenders and be awarded this seat.

The issue with this appointment isn't just Burris' qualifications, but the process and the motivations behind it. Burris can't have been unaware that Blago was deliberately stirring the pot, with an appointment that he was pointedly requested not to make. It ought to be voided for that reason alone.

Add to this Burris' collaboration with Blago's blatant power play, his tacit endorsement of Blago's "right" to make an appointment in defiance of the wishes of the incoming President-Elect and Senate Democrats, his newly-found neutrality on Blago's appalling scandal - and it's hard to disagree with Neef's earlier sentiments. At best, Burris needs to get back on an even playing field with the other hopefuls, and at worst, his self-serving behavior ought to disqualify him outright.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 05:55AM | 0 recs
I still don't get it

What other contenders?

Appointments aren't game shows.  A duly elected official (like Blagojevich, sorry to say) chooses some person to hold an office so that the government doesn't collapse before the next elections.  The "contenders" have no status, official or moral.  A guy chooses another guy.  The end.

I don't remember post-election appointments to replace vacancies ever being this dramatic in previous years.  In 1992 we wouldn't have thought twice about Caroline Kennedy holding onto a New York seat for a couple years.  Could it be that we've become addicted to outrage and drama?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: I still don't get it

Was Burris the only one interested in this Senate seat? Don't you think Obama has an opinion on who should be replacing him in the Senate? The appointment may not be his prerogative, but as president-elect shouldn't it be at least considered?

I don't get your insistence on holding up Blago's elevated "duly elected" status. He may legally hold the title, but only because he had the chutzpah to refuse to step aside. What part of "appointment tainted by scandal" is so hard to understand?

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: I still don't get it

Was Burris the only one interested in this Senate seat?

Doesn't matter.  There's no such thing as "in the running" for an appointment except on an extremely unofficial level.

Don't you think Obama has an opinion on who should be replacing him in the Senate?

Yes, I'm sure he does; he already relayed it to the person in charge of replacing him.  It was considered (poorly) and rejected.  The end.

The appointment may not be his prerogative, but as president-elect shouldn't it be at least considered?

Yes.  And I'm sure it was considered, at least to the extent that a corrupt scuzz-bag like Blago considers things that don't directly benefit him.

I don't get your insistence on holding up Blago's elevated "duly elected" status. He may legally hold the title, but only because he had the chutzpah to refuse to step aside.

You realize that you're starting to use arguments that NoQuarter lunatics used to call for Obama to concede to Clinton in the primaries after Wright's sermons exploded onto the media, right?  If we start throwing out due process in favor of mob mentality (even when the mob appears to have a pretty good idea of what's going on, as it does here), then where do we stop?  

What part of "appointment tainted by scandal" is so hard to understand?

The part where a good appointment is still a good appointment even if the appointer is a jagbag who is fucking with us.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:00AM | 0 recs
Re: I still don't get it

I feel no strong disagreement with your first three points, permit me to address the latter two:

I don't get your insistence on holding up Blago's elevated "duly elected" status. He may legally hold the title, but only because he had the chutzpah to refuse to step aside.

You realize that you're starting to use arguments that NoQuarter lunatics used to call for Obama to concede to Clinton in the primaries after Wright's sermons exploded onto the media, right?  If we start throwing out due process in favor of mob mentality (even when the mob appears to have a pretty good idea of what's going on, as it does here), then where do we stop?

First of all, controversial sermons made by one's pastor hardly equate to voice recordings of your own, repeated, blatant attempts at extortion in return for political favors.

Secondly, no one's throwing out due process. Blago can certainly fight those charges and prove his innocence, if that's remotely possible. Further, I don't see mobs rushing the governor's mansion with pitchforks just yet - do you? Blago's ability to govern effectively following these charges has been seriously compromised, but he yet has the right to refuse to resign - and he's certainly exercising it. Meanwhile, the Senate has just as much right to refuse to accept his scandal-tainted appointment, and that's certainly looking to be likely as well.

What part of "appointment tainted by scandal" is so hard to understand?

The part where a good appointment is still a good appointment even if the appointer is a jagbag who is fucking with us.

Then let's replace said jagbag and have his replacement make the same good appointment. There was never anything precluding that possibility - which is why I don't understand Burris' eager rush to occupy the seat. Meanwhile, there are plenty of good reasons for Democrats to rid themselves of anything with Blago's fingerprints on it.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 07:25AM | 0 recs
I'm getting a tragic vibe off this.

Burris has faced electoral failure his whole political life, and has yet been a stalwart party loyalist.  I expect that anyone replacing Blago would have rising stars that they were intersted in helping; Burris doesn't exactly qualify as a "rising star."

Frankly, a hail mary appointment from a disgraced governor looking to screw everyone over is probably the best deal Burris is going to get, even if he technically does deserve the seat.

This is like finding an old silver engagement ring in a septic tank.  Do you throw it away, or do  you wash it off and keep it?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm getting a tragic vibe off this.

Alright, you've convinced me - that this might be the best deal Burris is going to get. And were I Burris or one of his well-wishers, I might well have endorsed the appointment.

But this can't be about what's best for Burris, but what's best for Chicago and the Democratic party. Given which, I'd prefer that it go to grow another rising star like Obama, than be used as a consolation prize for an old party stalwart.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 09:18AM | 0 recs
It's just what I see

I can't help but see it from Burris's perspective.  Imagine you're a team player and have served faithfully your entire life.  Now there's a concern that the person that fills the president-elect's seat is going to be corrupt.  YOU know that YOU are not corrupt, and when the offer comes around, the offer that you've always waited for, you have to take it, because you've always done your part for your team.

Outrage dies down, but correct decisions remain so.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 10:07AM | 0 recs
No argument there

The tomb, outre as it is, seems to speak to a person that desperately wants some sort of legacy. I also don't think there's any debate that he has, in fact, earned such an honor.

Yeah, "tragic vibe" hits the nail on the head.

by Neef 2008-12-31 09:23AM | 0 recs
And further

Burris may well end up being the most suitable candidate for the seat - but that's not the point. Blago's corruption scandal centers around him trying to sell that very appointment, for crying out loud. Doesn't it seem logical that any appointment to this seat by Blago, under the circumstances, is going to appear corrupt? Do we really want to set ourselves up for future investigative journalism pieces - and potential revelations - about the relationship between Blago and Burris, for instance?

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 06:39AM | 0 recs
I leave it to the Fourth Estate

If there's one thing the media is good at, it's digging up dirt on people.

If this particular appointment was sold, then I'm sure they'll figure it out shortly.  If it wasn't, there's no problem.  Well, not for Burris at least.  Blago's still screwed.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:01AM | 0 recs
just watched the video..

Blago is good. He just dropped the gauntlet.

by FLS 2008-12-30 07:51PM | 0 recs
That's just what he did

He went from underdog to Alpha Dog in one move. This on the heels of his little Kipling stanza.

Clearly, his political skills have been underestimated.

by Neef 2008-12-31 05:17AM | 0 recs
I don't see him as Alpha Dog at all.

I don't think anyone else does either. Alpha Nuisance seems more like it.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 06:40AM | 0 recs
Hah, point taken

However, he is currently the one calling the shots and making the plays, a fairly dramatic reversal from three weeks ago.

by Neef 2008-12-31 06:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Hah, point taken

He's certainly making the plays - is he really calling the shots? He won't be crowing as loudly when his appointment is shot down in the Senate.

I'm furious that a single corrupt, self-serving twit could so effectively stain an otherwise flawless transition. All and any associations with him need to be quarantined and burnt before we can move forward from this affair.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 07:03AM | 0 recs
That's the big question

will Reid shoot it down? Can he do so, legally? Should he? At this point in time, it's a legal appointment, and we can't lightly ignore that.

I think this is why I am so disappointed in Burris. Blago had no play until Burris enabled him. Now he may have a fairly solid one.

by Neef 2008-12-31 07:18AM | 0 recs
Agreed

Burris' enabling of Blago's power plays is the first strike against him in my book.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: That's the big question

Blago had no play until Burris enabled him. Now he may have a fairly solid one.

Only if the Democrats are stupid (what?  Don't look at me like that).  They can confirm Burris if he's clean and then still impeach Blagojevich.

I see no reason why we can't play hardball harder than Governor Sassypants here.  

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 08:04AM | 0 recs
We WILL be playing hardball

if we reject his appointment. Keeping Burris gives him a strategic victory he doesn't deserve.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-31 09:22AM | 0 recs
Clarence Page implies Bobby Rush hypocritical

Is it true Bobby Rush actually endorsed a white guy against Obama during his first election in IL?

Clarence Page was on GMA (ABC) and was pretty much laughing at Bobby Rush's racial crap. He highlighted Bobby's hypocrisy by talking about how Rush had no problem supporting white candidate against Obama but not brings up the race card.

It is disgusting that a guy will use race to advance a personal agenda.

by Pravin 2008-12-31 03:11AM | 0 recs
I saw Burris on Rachel Maddow last night

and it was pretty painful. He kept repeating how this was "lawful" (and I agree it is), while deflecting any question of it's propriety. Rachel, on the other hand, seemed baffled as to how he could be unaware of the political overtones.

A nice guy. He seemed pretty defensive to me, but perhaps that's just what I expected to see.

by Neef 2008-12-31 05:21AM | 0 recs
What???

I am shocked reading some of these comments. A criminal's appointment cannot and must not be seated! (And please spare me the innocent til proven guilty stuff. Blago is no good. He never has been. You can read the things he said on those tapes and I don't need a jury to tell me that is or is not crooked).

Look at the backlash even Obama has received just because he's from the same city as Blago. So, Blago's appointment is seated (and that's how he will be known) and then when Blago is impeached and there is a trial, and all his crooked sh*t comes out, who pays for it? Every single Democrat in the Senate, thereby helping us lose seats and helping Republicans look once again like the party of values. You know, we did really well in 2006. I of course believe we have better ideas for the country, better philosophies, and have better candidates on the whole- but there's no denying Republican scandals helped out a crapload.

I feel like people rooting for Blago's appointment (the fact that it is Burris is irrelevant to me) are those same Rush Limbaugh Operation Chaos people. This will only hurt democrats. Our governor here is really bad, really crooked. And it will come out. Just because he is pretending not to live on earth or have any grasp of reality, doesn't make this situation go away. He needs to be booted out. Until then, his power should be frozen. And, yes, democrats need to stand up and be tough and show that we do not tolerate corruption in our own party, either.

And if you really want to respect the seat of the first African American elected president, you're going to make goddamn sure his seat is not tainted by a crook.

by cecilybecily 2008-12-31 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: What???

We need to stay united AGAINST this appointment.   Nobody should be seated who accepts an appointment from Blago.  Not only will that person be irreparably tainted, but so will all Democrats who support them.

This is going to be the perfect opening salvo from the GOP against the Democrats in 2010.  

I am sorry, but Burris can not be a good guy if he is so happy to accept an appointment from Blago.     He should have said, Thanks but no thanks and done so publically.

I am sorry, but I will not work with corrupt people, even if they are Democrats.  We need to keep showing the American people that we do not accept this garbage.   Our people take responsibility for their errors.   See how Spitzer resigned, but Vitter refused to.  

We need to keep the stink of corruption fully on the GOP and away from us.

So no go on this appointment.

by gavoter 2008-12-31 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: What???

I wholeheartedly agree.

Danny Davis said Thanks but no thanks to the appointment this weekend. And he gained a lot of points for it. Burris is digging his own grave.

by cecilybecily 2008-12-31 06:24AM | 0 recs
Wow, just wow

(And please spare me the innocent til proven guilty stuff. Blago is no good. He never has been. You can read the things he said on those tapes and I don't need a jury to tell me that is or is not crooked).

I never thought I'd see the day on a progressive blog where we threw out due process.

I don't care if Blago goes down or not.  Actually, scratch that, I'm pretty sure he's dirty and would like to see him fry.  In the meantime, the people of Illinois put him in power, and I won't stand for the people's will and the law of the land to be circumvented on a hunch, even a pretty good one.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow, just wow

The issue is now that Burris is also a craven scuzball politician, undeserving of any praise.

Two weeks ago he was all for getting rid of Blago post haste, now that he has a Senate appointment he wants all that to slow down and keeps up the issue that Blago needs his day in court.

give me a break.  Anybody who considers themselves progressive should be disgusted with the actions of Burris and should not want him respresenting them.    We need honest and ethical leaders, not sleezy cockroaches like these two bozos.

Again, I will point to Spitzer.  What he did was far less offensive than what Blago has done and Spitzer did the right thing for New York by resigning.     This appointment will be an albatross around the necks of the Senate Democrats if it goes forward.  If Burris has any integrity he will withdraw his name from consideration by the end of the day.  

by gavoter 2008-12-31 07:49AM | 0 recs
How quickly we turn on our own

Man I wish we had been this vicious against Bush.

You're operating on the sketchiest evidence to support your assertion and not even considering that there could be any complexity in this labyrnthine issue.

Burris could be corrupt.  I dunno.  But there's no evidence of it so far beyond blind assumptions.

I think Blago should get his day in court, too.  That's what democracy says he should get.  I like democracy.

Spitzer didn't want to fight it out.  That was his perrogative.  Don't insult Blagojevich for flexing his mandated rights, just because you don't like him or what he's allegedly done.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: How quickly we turn on our own

I was this vicious against Bush.  I think the crimes that he and Cheney committed were High Treason.  I do think that the two of them should be hanged in Lafayette Square and their bodies left to rot, but we all know that is not going to happen.

by gavoter 2008-12-31 08:07AM | 0 recs
We can always dream.

Sigh. :)

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 08:09AM | 0 recs
innocent until guilty

BTW I still believe that you are innocent until guilty.  Blago is still a free man and has every right to remain so.   However, I think that leaders of our nation need to be held to a higher standard than average citizens.  Therefore he should resign his office while this cloud hangs over his head.  Especially when the charges against him are of corruption and abuse of power.

by gavoter 2008-12-31 08:04AM | 0 recs
Righto... wait how high are the standards?

And Obama should resign because some people still have some questions over his birth certificate.  Also Obama might've paid Larry Sinclair for sex and drugs.  And Hillary Clinton is still fighting some charges of illegal campaign finance stuff from her 2000 Senate election, so she can't be Secretary of State.

Where does it end?  Who decides how high the high standards for leaders are?  Why aren't Cheney & Rove in jail right now?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Righto... wait how high are the standards?

I would love for Rove and the gang to be in jail, are you kidding me?

But it is unbelievably insincere to compare Blago's corruption to Obama's birth certificate questions (which have been answered plenty of times by the State of Hawaii) or completely frivolous claims of prositution and drug use.  Blago is a man who has been recorded saying he wants to sell the Senate Seat. This is a man who has been recorded trying to get people fired because they are critical of him. Find me the recording of Obama saying "f*k those fkers. They think I'm from Hawaii. What a bunch of fking idiots. Get me Sinclair on the phone! And get my wallet! I'm going to get the most expensive ***job and crack tonight!" Then maybe I will agree with your comparison.

We as Dems elect our leaders. We set the high standard for our leaders. We take pride in electing good people who can help better the country. We set the standards to balance out the murderous crooks like Cheney, and Co. on the other side. Just because they got away with murder, doesn't mean I want my guys doing the same crap.

by cecilybecily 2008-12-31 09:06AM | 0 recs
You misunderstand

I would love for Rove and the gang to be in jail, are you kidding me?

So would I.  The point is, why aren't they?  The answer is that there are processes for convicting people, and those processes have not been pushed to completion (yet?).

I'm not trying to push false equivilence on these issues, but the specifics, if not the scope, are similar.  Anyone can accuse anyone else of anything in this country, and if we don't have rules for dealing with it, peoples' lives get destroyed illegitimately.

What makes us the good guys is that we don't cheat even if our enemies do.  Haven't you ever seen a Roy Rodgers flick?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: You misunderstand

Listen, I'm totally with you on the big picture Arthur Miller stuff about false accusations. But there is a difference when someone is caught redhanded. It's not a wild accusation. It's pretty frapping black and white. Blago was caught on tape trying to sell a Senate seat. And someone trying to sell a Senate seat is a crooked politician. You are absolutely free to withhold your own personal judgement until the day years from now when a jury will decide whether or not to convict him. You can believe O.J. and Robert Blake are innocent because a jury said so. That's all fine and dandy by me.

I don't know what else to say. I guess we will agree to disagree on whether or not a politician is crooked if he says:
"I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there."
And he also says the Senate seat is:
"a (expletive) valuable thing, you just don't give it away for nothing"
And says:
"I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I'm saying. And if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself."

by cecilybecily 2008-12-31 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow, just wow

Your comment is not really fair. Although I am not a fan of our justice system and find it severely flawed, I am not advocating throwing Blago into some Gitmo like prison. I'm not talking about prison at all, in fact. Whatever happens with that will happen. I'm talking about being a crooked politician. And maybe it makes me not so progressive, but when a man says in his own words that he is not giving away the golden f*cking Senate Seat for f**king nothing, and complains that Obama's people wont give him anything for it and so he wont give in to them, I will call that corrupt. And what I said was that I don't need 12 of my fellow citizens to let me know that it's ok for me to call him corrupt. And I do not want a corrupt governor because it's severely damaging my state and could possibly severely damage democrats everywhere. Please don't turn those words into me being an advocate of throwing out habeas corpus or something.

It bothers me that people who have never heard of him before this case run to his defense only because he has not been tried by a jury. I get enraged when I hear his terrible lawyer saying the same thing in the impeachment hearings (the same lawyer who got R. Kelly freed after having sex with a 14 year old).  I was born and raised in Chicago and have felt and am presently feeling the damage caused by this egotistical nut job. We elected him, sure, but we also desperately want him out. This past election, we had the option of voting for a Constitutional Convention- and although it didn't pass and would have probably wreaked havoc on business and labor relations, lots of folks voted for it as a shot to get Blago out.

So if you're talking about the people's will of Illinois, you have to understand most of us want the guy out of the Governor's office. He's been nothing but trouble. We were cheering the day he was arrested. Well, I guess that's not exactly true- he still has an 8% approval rate.  

by cecilybecily 2008-12-31 08:55AM | 0 recs
I would want him out, too.

I'll tell you, I'm not in that 8%, but you know that.  I also don't live in Chicago, though my relatives do.  So I don't have a personal stake in this... but I think that gives me a cooler head on the matter.

Who his lawyer is and what he's on tape saying means nothing, yet.  Intent has to be proven.  I've said a lot of crazy shit in my life that I haven't meant.  I have no idea what the context was on those recordings.  Maybe he was blowing off steam after a frustrating day.  Probably not... but our system implements punishment after due process is served, and rightly so.  

I'm not liking all this mob mentality.  Let's just cool off and see what happens, eh?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-31 09:52AM | 0 recs

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