"Child Rowland to the dark tower came..."
Governor Shakedown taps Roland Burris for Obama Senate Seat
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.
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.