A defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich ignored calls for him to step aside, instead naming Former State Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-Elect Barack Obama in the United States Senate:

Blagojevich, arrested Dec. 9 on charges of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the seat. He praised the 71-year-old Burris’ integrity and asked that the corruption allegations don’t “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 at a news conference in Chicago. “As governor I am required to make this appointment.”

From a political standpoint, this is a brilliant move. If the Senate votes to not accept Burris, they’ll be turning down an accomplished minority politician:

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.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush came out of the crowd at the news conference to urge U.S. senators to seat Burris, noting Obama’s departure leaves the chamber without a black member. Earlier in the day, Senate leaders released a statement saying they would not seat anyone Blagojevich appointed. “This is a good decision,” Rush said. “Roland Burris is worthy. He has not in 40 years of public service had one iota of taint on his record as a public servant. “

Based on their official statement, it’s obvious that Senate Democrats aren’t happy getting painted into this corner:

“It is truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Gov. Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety,” the statement said.

“Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.”

I suspect that Harry Reid and Co. are upset with Gov. Blagojevich but that they’ll seat Burris because they can’t afford the political hit they’d take if they didn’t seat a qualified black politician. In this context, it’s irrelevant that Gov. Blagojevich is embroiled in a scandal.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

4 Responses to “Defiant Blagojevich Names Obama’s Replacement”

  • Donna Foster says:

    Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that 50 Democrat Senators and a bunch of politicians from Illinois are suddenly concerned about someone who would “serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety”? They weren’t concerned about these things when they ran Clinton in the 90s, or when they ran Obama this year. In fact, they have spent decades re-defining the meaning of the word “improper” to the point where it only applies to Republicans and Conservatives, and the news media has earned an assist in this process! Modifying that line from Fost/Nixon: “If the Democrats do it, it isn’t improper!” We all knew about Illinois politics, and the media intentionally disregarded the dirty aspects of the political machine Obama emerged from. The Blago situation is a scandal that even people who aren’t paying attention can understand. In light of that fact, the Democrats are now trying to appear to have the same morals as the people. Ha! Everytime this subject comes up in my daily life, I remind everyone that these Democrats are the people who won in 2006 based on the mantra “culture of corruption”, while behind the scenes they are the real dirty ones. How different they behave when the people are watching.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Donna, That irony isn’t lost on anyone.

  • Donna Foster says:

    Gary,
    I realize that irony isn’t lost on the people who read this blog, but the fact that we now have President-Elect Barack Obama, and the fact that the Democrats are stealing our Senate race right out in the open, means that that irony was, indeed, lost on a majority of the voting public.

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