Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Despite warnings by Senate leaders, Blagojevich to name successor to Obama

Maybe Rod Blagojevich is gambling that Harry Reid and Senate Democrats won't be able to defy his brazen appointment of a new U.S. Senator.

After all, the Senate Democratic Caucus hasn't been able to effectively stand up to George W. Bush for the last two years:
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.
Illinois progressives we've heard from say that picking Burris is somewhat clever, because he's considered to be squeaky clean and well respected across the Prairie State. That might make it difficult for the U.S. Senate to refuse to seat him. (It looks like they have no legal authority to refuse to actually seat him anyway - though they could expel Burris after he is seated).

But how can Burris accept this appointment? Rod Blagojevich is one of the most corrupt governors in American history. According to the criminal complaint filed by the feds, he attempted to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat for his own personal gain. Surely Burris knows he'll be hit with a firestorm of guilt by association attacks the moment he says he accepts.

But if he refuses to accept, that opens the door for Blagojevich to simply name someone else, perhaps someone who isn't as respected as Burris.

It's too bad Blagojevich doesn't have the decency to resign.

UPDATE, 11:18 AM: Just in - the Democratic leadership responds:
It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety.

We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris's ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.
It seems that they mean to hold their ground. Funny, they don't do that when Republicans are glaring at them. The question is - will they?

UPDATE, 12:05 PM: Roland Burris has just accepted the appointment at a news conference in Chicago. He's reading a prepared statement.

UPDATE, 12:22 PM: The Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White (who, like Burris, is black) says he won't certify the appointment.

The drama continues...


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