Obama's Replacement Is...

... Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris -- maybe.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.

Burris is 71, so it's not clear if he would run for reelection in 2010, though statements relayed in the story above suggest that Burris would be interested in running two years from now. Burris has a long history in Illinois politics, serving as the state Comptroller from 1979 to 1991, when he was elected state Attorney General. Burris left that office to make an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic gubernatorial bid in 1994, and then made another unsuccessful bid in 1995 to unseat Richard Daley as Mayor of Chicago.

Gleaning from these facts it would seem that Burris is at least somewhat independent of the Illinois machine (one who runs against a Daley presumably has to be), and that he has had a fairly good track record in statewide general elections. Beyond that, I don't know much about him -- particularly whether he is sufficiently independent and clean to be acceptable despite the fact that he is Rod Blagojevich's pick. So more as we hear it.

Update [2008-12-30 13:43:15 by Jonathan Singer]: MyDD Blog Talk Radio co-host Adam Conner makes an interesting find -- Burris' last run, an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination again in 2002, was against none other than Blagojevich.

Tags: 111th Congress, Barack Obama, IL-Sen, Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, Senate (all tags)



Roland Burris would be a great pick

He's highly intelligent, thoroughly independent of machine politics and a solid progressive.

by ChgoSteve 2008-12-30 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Roland Burris would be a great pick

But is he independent of Blagojevich.

Has Burris made money off state government during the Blagojevich administration?

by Carl Nyberg 2008-12-30 08:05AM | 0 recs
by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

I really have my doubts about the Senate's legal capacity to reject an appointee because of some ill-defined "cloud."  They could accept him and then expel him, but that's pretty unrealistic.  Also, there's something about the optics of refusing to seat the one and only African-American Senator that I think many folks would rather avoid.

by Steve M 2008-12-30 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

Yes, I thought that this sort of issue was resolved by Powell v. McCormack, but it's been quite a while since I've read that opinion.

by rfahey22 2008-12-30 09:21AM | 0 recs
Assuming Blago is no fool

he would specifically pick someone who the Senate will have a hard time rejecting. It's a game of chicken at this point. One can assume Burris is squeaky clean, with an impeccable record.

It's also telling that Burris is willing to be a pawn in the Blago/Senate chess game. Perhaps he felt he was nearing the end of his career anyway, why not go for the gold?

by Neef 2008-12-30 07:56AM | 0 recs
My thought, too

It's an incredibly canny move from Blago, and the legislature walked right into it.

I say confirm him if he's clean.  Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still the right thing.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 08:00AM | 0 recs
Amazing turn of events...

I agree, Blago is thumbing his nose at the establishment.

Let's see how the establishment reacts...

If they start complimenting Burris, that means they are calling Blago's bluff, and taking this off the table.

THEN, full speed ahead towards impeachment, and the criminal case against Blago.

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

Burris is a logical choice.

By reputation Burris is quite full of himself. This leads he to believe he thinks he's a candidate for re-election.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-12-30 08:04AM | 0 recs
Blago to Reid "Screw you"

You think Sen Reid would not seat Burris??? LOL

by Joshuagen 2008-12-30 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Blago to Reid "Screw you"

Reid will stand up to a Democrat.

He just caves in to Republicans.

by Bush Bites 2008-12-30 09:01AM | 0 recs
Reject him unconditionally

Anyone who accepts an appointment from Blago should not sit in the Senate.   The Democrats should make it clear that they will refuse to seat him.   Who cares what color his skin is.   If he accepts an appointment from Blago, then he is obviously morally bankrupt and has no business taking over this seat.

by gavoter 2008-12-30 08:52AM | 0 recs
That's ridiculous

Guilt by association much?

Blago could choose Zombie Lincoln, risen from the dead to save the country by serving the last two years of Obama's tenure, and you'd still say that he's corrupt because Blago chose him?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: That's ridiculous

Yes I would.  If he has any integrity he will say that he would not accept an appointment by Blago.  This is not that hard to figure out.

If he is such a good guy, let the appointment take place after Blago is impeached and have it done by the new governor.

by gavoter 2008-12-30 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

Politico's reporting that Burris said earlier this month that he just wanted to serve out the term and not run for reelection.

by Bush Bites 2008-12-30 08:59AM | 0 recs
Will be curious to see what Jim Edgar says.

The former Governor is probably the most popular Repub in a state with very few popular Repubs.

by Bush Bites 2008-12-30 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

Burris is a wise, perspicacious choice, with solid credentials.  It is difficult to understand how there could be any wiser choice, under any calmer circumstances.

Whenever a politician is hounded by both the American media and by fellow politicians, be prepared for the wider American public to feel sympathy.  

I believe that the Illinois governor will actually now become more popular--and in his resistance to bow to overwhelming pressure, find many a fellow Illinois voter feel a greater kindship with him.

Indeed, he may well weather this maelstrom, and become all the more formidable.  Proponents of his impeachment beware; and those now arguing against the seating of Burris had best beware even more.

by lambros 2008-12-30 09:30AM | 0 recs
There's another option

They could seat Burris after investigating him thoroughly, then impeach Blagojevich.

As I have said before, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still doing the right thing.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...

Make no mistake, Burris is part of a machine, it's just not the one in City Hall.

by Vox Populi 2008-12-30 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's Replacement Is...


Now Bobby Rush is being used by Blago to just blatantly play the race card.

He more or less was put up there to say to Reid, "I DARE you not to seat the only African-American member of the U.S Senate."

What a frickin' mess.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 10:27AM | 0 recs
trivia 411 on Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush may be kinda corrupt, not intelligent and an ineffective of legislator, but he's got a distinction that may stand the test of time.

Bobby Rush is the only guy to ever beat Barack Obama in an election.

Dan Hynes, Maria Pappas, Blair Hull, Gerry Chico, Nancy Skinner, Alan Keyes, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all lost to Obama. Only Rush was able to beat Obama.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-12-30 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: trivia 411 on Bobby Rush

Yeah, in 2000, when he was "Barack who?" and Rush was a longterm African-American Congressman serving in one of the most heavily A-A districts in Illinois and playing the "Obama is not black enough" card...

That whole press conference was a joke.  I can't believe that Rush chose to let himself be used like such a pawn in Blago's shenanigans, and he went along with it gleefully.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-30 10:41AM | 0 recs


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