Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Corrupt Governor Update, XI


"Child Rowland to the dark tower came..."

Governor Shakedown taps Roland Burris for Obama Senate Seat

From Crain's:

Blagojevich to name Burris to Senate seat
By: Greg Hinz Dec. 30, 2008

(Crain’s) — Gov. Rod Blagojevich has decided to appoint former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat.

A source close to the matter said the appointment, expected to be announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, will come despite a caution from Senate leaders that any appointment by Mr. Blagojevich would be tainted and perhaps rejected by the full Senate.

Mr. Burris is experienced, is African-American and is “not mentioned in the criminal complaint” against Mr. Blagojevich, as were other potential contenders for the seat, the source said.
...

Burris is solidly Illinois Political Middle Management.

Was state Comptroller of Illinois (1979 - 1991) , then Attorney General of Illinois (1991 - 1995), then got whipped three times running for Governor and once running for Mare of Chicago, then went on to do what former-politicians do who leave the field of combat bloodied but unindicted (which, around here, is something you actually put on the resume) -- take an office at a prestigious law firm and do a little "public relations, governmental representation, political strategies, and corporate strategies" consulting on the side.

So what?

Well, consider that Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has already told Blagojevich to go piss up a rope and that no appointment made to the Senate by Governor Shakedown would be acceptable:
...
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada previously warned Blagojevich, following the governor's Dec. 9 arrest, that Senate Democrats would not seat any appointment the two-term Democratic governor made. Reid's warning was contained in a letter signed by all 50 sitting Democratic senators, including the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
...


Which is all righteous and such -- and the right thing to do to boot -- but in making that pronouncement in such declarative terms, Reid violated the first rule of politics; he left himself no room to maneuver. *

So, in ignoring the Senate, and offering up Burris -- 71-years-old, unindicted, boring as tap water, African American -- Blagojevich is doing the predictably-Blagojevich thing: shoving Hobson's Choice right back in the Senate's face and daring the Old White Guy Club to reject out-of-hand an at-least-minimally-acceptable "compromise" candidate.

In the belief that Everything Is Politics, and in politics all things negotiable, Blagojevich is trying to do what his hero Richard Nixon would have done; change the subject by trying to pick a fight.

If they seat Burris, Blagojevich gets a "win", reasserts his primacy in the battle of political will and grabs the headlines away from Obama for a few days on his own terms.

If they don't, he gets to stand on top of the smoldering remains of his gubernatorial soap-box and rant about Washington insiders, the little guy, state's rights and serving the People of Illinois long and loud enough to improve his bargaining position.

Either way, it's a shitty little short-term tactic designed solely to extend the political shelf-life of Rod Blagojevich a few more weeks.

But then again, for all of recorded history, a whole lot of politics has come down to stringing together enough shitty little short-term tactics to build an empire.

UPDATE: Commenter Anonymous brings along the law.

Reid has not only painted himself into a corner, it's the corner with the trapdoor in it. Pursuant to Powell vs. McCormick, 395 U.S. 486 (1969), as Burris has a facially valid warrant of appointment to the vacancy; he's at least 30 years old; he's been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years; and he's a resident of Illinois, the Senate must seat him. Then if they want him out, they'd have to expel him by a 2/3 vote. Good luck with that.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

then went on to do what former-politicians do who leave the field of combat bloodied but indicted (which, around here, is something you actually put on the resume) --

Better change that -- Burris has never been indicted on anything.

Reid has not only painted himself into a corner, it's the corner with the trapdoor in it. Pursuant to Powell vs. McCormick, 395 U.S. 486 (1969), as Burris has a facially valid warrant of appointment to the vacancy; he's at least 30 years old; he's been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years; and he's a resident of Illinois, the Senate must seat him. Then if they want him out, they'd have to expel him by a 2/3 vote. Good luck with that.

driftglass said...

Sorry, Anon. I did mean "unindicted" and will correct.

Thanks

Caoimhin Laochdha said...

Anonymous beat me to it.

The Constitution does give the Senate authority to expel a member for cause. However, Art. 1 § 5 only gives final authority in the Senate to judge an incoming member's "qualifications," e.g., age, residency, citizenship, election winner - where appropriate - etc. (The Senate "shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members").

This potential nomination does not seem to raise any legitimate "qualification" issue.

Worthiness, which was Reid's original point, is a non-issue. "We don't like you" or "You're crook" or "Your appointer is a crook" are NOT disqualifications for service in the U.S. Senate. . . As if . . .

sláinte,
cl

Anonymous said...

Me again -- really. :)

The latest twist in the saga is that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will refuse to certify the documents appointing Burris senator. And thus, another lawsuit beckons, as either Blagojevich or Burris could sue White for failing to perform what they would call a "ministerial" duty of his office (something he has no discretion in). If White has certified recently-signed-by-the-Governor acts of the General Assembly (making them laws), he'll have taken away any leg he has to stand on.

driftglass said...

cl,
Who ever said we can have too many smart, well-informed people :-)

Anon,
Just heard the same. Presser @ 3:00. One shot of Tullemore Dew every time I hear "distinguished public servant", "the people's business" or "fight" and I should be down for the count by 3:20.

Caoimhin Laochdha said...

The Illinois Supreme Court already demonstrated that it does not take kindly to politicians playing too.cute.by.half with the law. A.G. Madigan learned that when she (frivolously) asked the IL Sup. Court to find Blago incapable of serving due to incapacitating "disability."

The Sec'y of State's frivolity - no matter how good intentioned or soapbox opportunistic - my result in his receipt of a mandamus from the same court.

sláinte,
cl

Caoimhin Laochdha said...

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte,

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte,

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte,

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte,

. . . hiccup . . .

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte,

DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVANT
Sláinte chugat,
cl

Anonymous said...

'Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members'

It seems pretty open to interpretation to me. All the Senate needs to say is they don't accept Burris as the Governor has been arrested and accused of illegal behavior, therefore the appointment itself is questionable. As I citizen of Illinois I find Blagojevich's behavior to be outrageous and unacceptable. I think the man is not only a criminal, he's also very deeply disturbed.

Myrtle June said...

"Mare of Chicago".... :lol:

Well, he's not mentioned in the complaint and .... how many phone calls has he had with blago? Hell, just have him replace Rham.

I don't really give a shit who they put in there as long as it's a D and he ain't blago. Unless the gov is ousted, then his choice must be accepted. I just don't want it to go to that vote thingee. That would be bad.

Bruce said...

By agreeing to be appointed by Blagojevich, Burris -- who otherwise seems to have been a shoe-in for the position -- has made himself "fruit of the poisonous tree".

The mystery here is why Burris agreed to be the appointee.

Anonymous said...

Looks like another example of that feckless leadership style Reid has perfected. Always outflanking himself. Is he sure he's a Dem? I hear you're supposed to become more Republican the older you get. Reid's gotta be an honorary Pig Person by now.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reid is wonderfully ready to stand up for principles in this situation, but when genuinely inappropriate people are put before the Senate for confirmation, you know- Supreme Court Justices, US AG's, and the like, Mr. Reid can't find his principles anywhere. Sad.

Anonymous said...

"The mystery here is why Burris agreed to be the appointee."

Agreed. By willingly associating himself with Blago, he's choosing to stand in a hip-deep sewer for all to see. How politically tone deaf do you have to be to knowingly tar yourself in such a manner?

People are getting pretty goddamned sick of rampant government corruption. Burris could be as squeaky clean as the day is long and it wouldn't matter; this is an incredibly (and unforgivably) stupid move on his part. Any career politico with the least common sense (or just an ordinary sense of self-preservation) should be avoiding Blago like he was the fucking plague right now.

And where, pray, are the goddamned Democrats? Rolling around in a puddle of their own piss, desperately hoping everything will somehow magically work out without them having to lift a finger? As per usual?

darkblack said...

Top-notch work on the Joker, D...I'll have to pick up my game to keep pace in the New Year.

;>)

Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain to me why they can't impeach him yet, according to Illinois state politics?

Anonymous said...

Since I read that after the Gov watched the movie 'Slingblade' the Gov would only 'talk' in the Billy Bob's character mode of expression, I laughed my ass off.

It seems that the Gov is openly talking about how pol deals are done in the usa instead of hiding in those cigar-filled back rooms where these deals are usually contained.

He ain't wearing no clothes and he don't care. I kinda like the guy.

Anonymous said...

i don't know how you can describe someone as "boring as tap water" who has a tomb which doubles as a curriculum vitae like burris.

Anonymous said...

i don't know how you can describe someone as "boring as tap water" who has a tomb which doubles as a curriculum vitae like burris.

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