Digraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is planning on appointing Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by president elect Barack Obama. It’s a daring, almost mind blowing move for Blago, who was accused of being one of the most corrupt people on earth by federal prosecutors.
A few thoughts:
- Race Card. Senate leader Harry Reid has said the Senate won’t seat anyone appointed by Blago. Keeping that promise just got a little harder. Barack Obama was the only African American in the Senate. Is Reid really going to fight to keep the Senate white? Burris, the first African American ever elected to statewide office in Illinois, is a game changer.
- It’s a Senate Seat Dummies! A lot of people thought that Blago would have trouble finding anyone who would accept the appointment. That’s just dumb. Anyone who isn’t embroiled with Blago’s corruption scandal would probably accept the appointment for a very simple reason: regardless of the temporary “taint” that might attach to being appointed by Blago, in the end you get to be a US Senator. There are only 100 of those people. It’s a very powerful, very exclusive club. Sometimes those Senators even get to be president!
- Burris is actually a pretty good choice. Lots of people will probably point out that Burris has a somewhat questionable political career, having lost races for the Senate, the mayor of Chicago and the governor of Illinois. Most of his political victories have been appointments. His current job is basically serving as a political fixer for businesses that need government favours in Illinois. But elections are over-rated as a way of figuring out qualification for office, and his career actually shows he understands politics pretty well. Illinois could probably use a man like Burris right now.
- Burris knows banks. After law school, Burris became the first African American National Bank Examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He toured midwest banks inspecting their banks. In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the midst of a banking crisis and most Senators don’t have a clue about what’s going on. Maybe having a former bank examiner isn’t such a bad idea.