December 30, 2008

The Blago follies on display at Burriss-Senate presser

Once again, for Illinois politics, getcha popcorn!

At his press conference announcing the appointment of Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, Gov. Rod Blagojevich offered us a bit of everything while...

Trying to get by with a little help from his friends.

1. Bobby Rush dealt the race card but that is why this was a politically smart appointment by Blago. That said, is Jesse Jackson Jr. kicking himself, or anybody within reach right now, about being neither the black appointee nor the black Senate seat defender instead of Rush? And, what is Bobby getting out of this for running PR flak for Blago, anyway?

Boy, the "considerations" for Rush is an interesting question to which I don't know the answer at all. BUT... if any Chicagoans see a bunch of Indians throwing him a dinner...

2. Also, neither Blago nor legal mouthpiece Ed Genston has commented on this breaking Genston's promise, on behalf of Blago, that he would not make an appointment.

3. And, Burris pulled out his former state AG credentials to fluff the "innocent until proven guilty line" about Blago, all while saying, in essence, "Did I really give him $11K? I don't remember." Gotta love it! And, expect either the Trib or Sun-Times to find out just what government largess went his way as an apparent reselt.

More interesting yet, Burris would NOT commit to being just a "placeholder" Senator until the next regular election in 2010. Frankly, I thought that was even dumber than not being prepared to get asked questions about how much campaign dinero he'd given Blago over the years.

4. Will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid try to run a vote on refusing to seat Burris, even though he would be standing on constitutional quicksand? Or will he falls back to what appears to be a previous partisan pledge not to allow ANY Blago appointee to caucus with Senate Dems? On the other side of the dome, would the Congressional Black Caucus raise hell on that issue? I say Reid will cave in some way, shape or form, especially if he can get a tacit agreement from Burris not to run for a full term in 2010.

Finally, can Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White really block the appointment? I view his office's legal role here as nothing more than a functionary. Speaking of state AGs, I guess he can get a legal opinion from disappointed "Candidate No. 2," Lisa Madigan. But, would she not have a conflict of interest in making a ruling? Would she recuse herself for the state AG's office No. 2? Without reading the Illinois constitution, I think White's power here is little more than paper-pushing. I doubt we will get to the point of a Madigan ruling.

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