Embattled Ill. Gov. "Hot" Rod Blagojevich never fails to disappoint.
Throwing everyone a curveball Tuesday, Hot Rod picked the esteemed careerist, four decades plus Democratic veteran/law & order, former Illinois Attorney General and first popularly elected black state official Roland Burris as his appointment to President-elect Barack Obama's senate seat.
CHICAGO — Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers, Gov. Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris' integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not "taint this good and honest man."
"The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.," Blagojevich said. "As governor I am required to make this appointment."
Burris, standing at the governor's side, said he's eager to get to work in Washington. He said he has no connection to the charges against Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9 and accused of trying to profit from appointing Obama's replacement.
Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office. He's served as Illinois' comptroller and ran for governor three times _ the last time losing to Blagojevich. (Huffington Post)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is continuing his swan song that the senate will not accept anyone the tainted Blago picks into the Dem caucus. But by picking Burris, Hot Rod has thrown down the ultimate triple dog dare -- pass over my qualified black appointment, haters! -- a point clarified at the press conference in even simpler terms by Illinois Dem. Rep. Bobby Rush*.
*Not to be confused by the chittlin' circuit, nightfishin', proudly henpecked -- pecked by the right hen -- bluesman Bobby Rush who enjoys serenading thicky-thick girls. Because with a mama who loves blues from Arkansas that's who I thought of immediately when I heard the name Rep. Bobby Rush. I half expected him to belt out how "Sue, she's a good 'un!" when he hopped on the stage.
Noting that without Obama there would be no African-American members of the Senate, Rush, a former Black Panther, warned the press not to "hang or lynch" Burris by associating him with the ethics scandals plaguing the governor.
"I would ask you the not hang or lynch the appointee as you castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer," said Rush. "Roland Burris is worthy and he is the only one who can stand in the gap during this time and gather the confidence, re-establishing confidence of the people of the state of Illinois." (Huffington Post)
Rush, in so many terms, asked that people not punish Burris for Blago's crimes. Fair enough. But he also made the point that a Negroless Senate cannot stand. You can read this a lot of ways. Or you can go the simple route and claim that Rep. Rush just said if you don't confirm Burris, you are a racist.
I mean. Here's a direct quote.
"There are no African-Americans in the Senate, and I don't think that anyone, any U.S. Senator who is sitting right now would want to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I don't think they want to go on record doing that.
Rush promised to take his case to the Congressional Black Caucus, and he said he intended to lobby Senators as well -- including his Illinois colleague, Dick Durbin.
"Let me remind you that the state of Illinois and the people of the state of Illinois in their collective wisdom have sent two African-Americans to the U.S. Senate," Rush said. "That makes a difference. This is not just a state of Illinois matter ... but indeed, by this decision, it has tremendous national importance."
That's an interesting way to go in getting a fellow appointed. (To be fair, Blago also played a little "he's a black guy, push it through" hand of bid whist there too.) I don't know how successful that will be, but it's guaranteed to be entertaining.
Either way, NOW this shizz is officially interesting to me. Burris is 71 and has watched other hot shots come and go while he was passed over. First Jesse Jackson, Sr. running for president. Then Jesse's son going to the House. Then Carol Moseley Braun going to the senate first, followed later by Barack Obama, who is now our president-elect. Burris in many ways paved the way for these individuals and during the whole press conference he had a grin on his face that said, "You will not take this away from me."
This appointment, which everyone else was running from, Burris essentially ran towards as this was his last chance at such a huge and influential position. I can't really hate on the guy for this category five level of "opportunity = crisis." He knows he's being used and he doesn't care. If anything, at this point, home skillet might being using Blago. And we all know that the senate seat is a *bleeping* valuable thing.
This is going to be a lovely way to burn.