Blago names respected African American Pol to senate seat

Rick Moran
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that disgraced Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich is set to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the senate seat vacated when Barack Obama was elected president:

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 was the long time Comptroller of the State of Illinois (1979-91) and Attorney General from 1991-95. He has run unsuccessfully for governor and senator as well as Mayor of Chicago in the past and now runs a big consulting firm in the city.

By choosing Burris, Blagojevich has made a brilliant political stroke. AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr:

Very smart pick by Blago. He names an African American, Roland Burris   who previously ran against Blago for Democratic nomination for Governor in 2002. Burris is generally respected, and this will make it harder for US Senate not to accept the pick. It also removes any chance for an immediate special election, where a Republican might win, so Democrats in US Senate, and Illinois legislature will be pleased. .

This also takes a lot of pressure off the impeachment drive in Illinois legislature. 


Here you have a squeaky clean African American candidate with name recognition statewide and who is obviously more than qualified for the job. What is Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats to do? Will they risk offending millions of their core constituency by rejecting Burris or will Reid go back on his word by accepting the disgraced governor's choice and elicit howls of outrage from the GOP?


Ethel Fenig:

As befits a Chicago politician this is a very clever sale on Blagojevich's part.  Burris's fine reputation and extensive experience would make it difficult for Illinois and national Democrats to reject him.  Instead of playing out the scandal in the state of Illinois and leaving the seat vacant Democrats would have another seat in the Senate; this is important given the still uncertain outcome in the Coleman (R)-Franken (D) race in Minnesota.   He would be an attractive candidate for re-election in two years. 
In Illinois you just can't keep a good corrupt politician down.

And Editor in Chief Tom Lifson points out:

This feeds the notion floated earlier that this is now considered a black Senate seat. Once you go black, you’ll never go back? Bobby Rush just played the race card again today.

In Illinois, this is a distinct possibility. Any black candidate running statewide in Illinois will come out of Cook and other upstate counties with a huge lead - probably larger than any downstate effort by the GOP could overcome. Mr. Lfison's statement will be put to the test in 2010 when Burris will probably make a run for a new term.

As far as impeachment, that effort was losing steam in the Illinois House already due to the holidays and if Reid and the Washington Democrats end up accepting Burris, proceedings will slow to a crawl as all the urgency in getting rid of Blago before he could name a replacement for Obama would have disappeared.

In Illinois, a politician is considered guilty until he's convicted. Then he's considered unelectable.





The Chicago Tribune is reporting that disgraced Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich is set to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the senate seat vacated when Barack Obama was elected president:

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 was the long time Comptroller of the State of Illinois (1979-91) and Attorney General from 1991-95. He has run unsuccessfully for governor and senator as well as Mayor of Chicago in the past and now runs a big consulting firm in the city.

By choosing Burris, Blagojevich has made a brilliant political stroke. AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr:

Very smart pick by Blago. He names an African American, Roland Burris   who previously ran against Blago for Democratic nomination for Governor in 2002. Burris is generally respected, and this will make it harder for US Senate not to accept the pick. It also removes any chance for an immediate special election, where a Republican might win, so Democrats in US Senate, and Illinois legislature will be pleased. .

This also takes a lot of pressure off the impeachment drive in Illinois legislature. 


Here you have a squeaky clean African American candidate with name recognition statewide and who is obviously more than qualified for the job. What is Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats to do? Will they risk offending millions of their core constituency by rejecting Burris or will Reid go back on his word by accepting the disgraced governor's choice and elicit howls of outrage from the GOP?


Ethel Fenig:

As befits a Chicago politician this is a very clever sale on Blagojevich's part.  Burris's fine reputation and extensive experience would make it difficult for Illinois and national Democrats to reject him.  Instead of playing out the scandal in the state of Illinois and leaving the seat vacant Democrats would have another seat in the Senate; this is important given the still uncertain outcome in the Coleman (R)-Franken (D) race in Minnesota.   He would be an attractive candidate for re-election in two years. 
In Illinois you just can't keep a good corrupt politician down.

And Editor in Chief Tom Lifson points out:

This feeds the notion floated earlier that this is now considered a black Senate seat. Once you go black, you’ll never go back? Bobby Rush just played the race card again today.

In Illinois, this is a distinct possibility. Any black candidate running statewide in Illinois will come out of Cook and other upstate counties with a huge lead - probably larger than any downstate effort by the GOP could overcome. Mr. Lfison's statement will be put to the test in 2010 when Burris will probably make a run for a new term.

As far as impeachment, that effort was losing steam in the Illinois House already due to the holidays and if Reid and the Washington Democrats end up accepting Burris, proceedings will slow to a crawl as all the urgency in getting rid of Blago before he could name a replacement for Obama would have disappeared.

In Illinois, a politician is considered guilty until he's convicted. Then he's considered unelectable.