Maybe We Were Wrong About Blagojevich

Roland Burris seems to be a nice old grandpa as far from any corrupt power brokering scheme as one can get. He’s also black – a meaningful point considering this Senate seat is being vacated by the only current black senator. So is Burris a well-vetted appointee or a perfect human shield for Blagojevich?

While Harry Reid and others are trying to think of an easy way to tell this nice old man he's not going to be a senator, Blagojevich hopes to slip out the back.

Maybe he thinks the fact that he is appointing a decent person who is in the twilight of his career (after Senate leadership said they wouldn't allow a Blagojevich appointment), everyone will forget that little thing about trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

Or maybe Blagojevich was sincerely worried that the accusations about his own corruption would "taint this good and honest man" (meaning Burris).

It would seem comical that a politician would use such a blatant last ditch tactic to curb public anger if it didn't stand a good chance of working. Roland Burris is in danger of becoming a political tool the same way Elian Gonzalez and Terri Shiavo were. At least that's what Blagojevich is hoping for.

I expect to see a legal battle over the Senate's right to reject this appointment and I'm sure Mr. Burris will make some very convincing pleas for public support. He seems to have a clean record of public service from the little I have read about him.

But the question is a red herring designed to move attention away from the true issue whether Blagojevich is fit to make the appointment.

I hope the Democratic leadership in the Senate don't give credence to this ploy by allowing the appointment. But more importantly, I hope the media doesn't take the bait and make a circus out of it to keep it on the front page.

Posted by Mark Montie at December 30, 2008 9:24 PM
Comments
Comment #272971

>But more importantly, I hope the media doesn’t take the bait and make a circus out of it to keep it on the front page.
Posted by Mark Montie at December 30, 2008 09:24 PM

Mark,

Too late…

Good, bad or indifferent, as far as Burris goes, Blagojevich just wants to go out with a splash instead of a whimper. And, he doesn’t care who or what he hurts on his way out, including, but not limited to, Illinois, Burris, Democratic Party, or the good ol’ USA…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 30, 2008 10:12 PM
Comment #272975

My personal New Years wish is that Blagojevich goes home and blows his brains out, and soon.

Posted by: bills at December 31, 2008 2:59 AM
Comment #272977

Bills:

Not something to wish on anyone! How disgusting.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 31, 2008 8:27 AM
Comment #272987

I think he has more cards to play. It’s pretty hard to be corrupt by one’s self. He clearly wanted to sell the US Senate seat. But he must have believed there were willing buyers. Those willing buyers are probably a bit nervous right now.

It is hard for me to believe “he acted alone.” He can use that info to get a much lighter sentence.

In terms of a violent end, my hunch is if that happens it would be those nervous co conspirators that pull the trigger and not the govenor. Wouldn’t be the first time in Chicago!!


My basic question is that who did he think would buy the seat, and why did he think that?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 31, 2008 11:55 AM
Comment #272990


Despite the governors flaws, the choice of Burris doesn’t appear to be a bad one from my perspective. From what I have read about him, Burris seems to be boaring but one of the more honest politicians in Illinois. Perhaps to honest for the Senate Democrats.

Posted by: jlw at December 31, 2008 12:48 PM
Comment #272992

jlw:

Actually isn’t it a good choice? The goal should be to have someone honorable to fill the slot until the people can have an orderly election. Seems like he fits the bill.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 31, 2008 2:03 PM
Comment #273000

“Not something to wish on anyone! How disgusting.”

Oh I don’t know some people just seem to bring that out.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/12/gonzo_im_a_casualty_of_the_war.php


“But the question is a red herring designed to move attention away from the true issue whether Blagojevich is fit to make the appointment.”

So far he hasn’t been convicted of a crime nor removed from office. He was duly elected despite the corruption tag. The question is can the position be vacated, and the corporations of the state of Illinois without representation, for the time required to convict the Gov. and remove him from office or to find him innocent of the charges against him? After all this is a republican led prosecution and we all know what happened once the Whitewater investigation started, who is to say this isn’t more of the same?

Is this the case where the line is drawn and the outcome that will become precedent worth the battle and the gain/loss from the battle?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 31, 2008 4:41 PM
Comment #273006

Craig,

I think you’re right about Blagojevich having more cards to play. The Burris fiasco will only buy him time. Eventually he’ll implicate someone else or get taken out by them. I can’t wait to see which.

j2t2,

No he hasn’t been convicted. But it seems silly to leave him in charge of the very appointment he is suspected of trying to sell as a commodity. It’s like asking a suspected child molester to babysit. Burris may be the best man for the job but that doesn’t matter. In making that appointment, Blagojevich was not working for the people of Illinois. He was working for himself.

I hope this case does become a precedent. If the people of Illinois have to go under represented for a while it will send a message that winking at rampant corruption isn’t acceptable in American government. This isn’t a case of hanky panky in a bathroom stall.

Posted by: Mark at December 31, 2008 8:20 PM
Comment #273010

Craige Holms
Really! Wheres Al Capone when we need him.

J2t2
Is this a Republican led investigation? Basis?

Posted by: bills at January 1, 2009 9:15 AM
Comment #273016

bills:

I just stuggle with an assumption that a man can be that corrupt without help.

He didn’t just all of a sudden become that corrupt either. Some of the people who helped him become govenor had to know he had it in him.

I don’t think it is a bad assumption to believe there is more to come.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 1, 2009 12:16 PM
Comment #273020

I have to agree with womanmarine on the “disgusting” issue.

It is clear that an infrastructure of corruption already exists in Illinois politics and that it knows no party. As with Louisiana politics before Katrina the people know the corruption is there and they have not been embarrassed enough to to throw the bums out. In my opinion if Blago’s appointment is in fact a good man he should be seated. He’ll only be there two years then the people get their shot and they can decide who they want.

If they go with the corrupt status quo after this fiasco they will then have the government they deserve.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 1, 2009 1:41 PM
Comment #273022


Lee, defending the seat in 2010 is what this is all about. But, Republicans wouldn’t try to use a conviction of Blago against Harris is 2010, would they?

It may be in the best interest of politicians of both parties, business CEO’s, union business agents and the mob if they all chipped in and put out a contract on Blago. How about a million dollar contract.

Bills, the ghost of Al Capone resides in the Chicago city hall, the seat of his power.

Posted by: jlw at January 1, 2009 2:18 PM
Comment #273028

“No he hasn’t been convicted. But it seems silly to leave him in charge of the very appointment he is suspected of trying to sell as a commodity. It’s like asking a suspected child molester to babysit.”

The people have spoken and he was voted into office. A presumption of innocence is mandatory. So he appoints this Burris temporarily what is the worst outcome? Nothing that cannot be corrected at the voting booth. Taking away the Gov. of Illinois basic rights to me is much worse. Either keep the Senate seat open until trial or let the sitting Gov. make the selection.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 1, 2009 4:25 PM
Comment #273032

j2t2,

Choosing the next senator of a state is not a basic right to me. I don’t want to lock the guy up just yet. Let’s get that trial going. But until then, IMO, either the seat should stay open or Barak can keep a part-time job.

Posted by: Mark at January 1, 2009 11:46 PM
Comment #273037

Mark I don’t think the mess that has been left by the prior administration can be considered a part time job.

Due Process is however a basic right and to forgo it in this nation of laws just drives us farther away from the principles that made this country great. The dems in DC should be ashamed of themselves for forgetting this basic right in their zeal to distance themselves from this man.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 2, 2009 9:33 AM
Comment #273041

J2t2,

For Dems in Congress, it is a lose-lose situation. If they embrace Burris, they’ll be accused of embracing Blag, and if they shun him…welllll…in any case Burris would be an ineffectual Senator, because of the scandal surrounding his selection. This is a horrible time in our history for this to happen…I think we should drop back five yards, and punt…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 2, 2009 10:17 AM
Comment #273056

Burris is a good compromise candidate because he promised not to run in 2010. This is a problem for those who want a black candidate in 2010, because, historically, in an open primary, the black candidate is less likely to win. If he becomes the Senator, which he already claims that he is, he will be the 3rd black Senator from IL, of only 6 black Senators in US history, the others were from Mass and Miss. So when will the first black Senator be elected from YOUR state?

Posted by: ohrealy at January 2, 2009 4:33 PM
Comment #273060

Things are sppeding up on the Blag front:

Posted by: Marysdude at January 2, 2009 4:58 PM
Comment #273061

Ooops!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/02/blagojevich-could-be-impe_n_154829.html

Posted by: Marysdude at January 2, 2009 5:03 PM
Comment #273066

Mdude, there are a lot of baloney links on that Huffington page, but impeachment just means formally bringing the charges against him in the IL HOR. (Dictionary dot com 2. (in Congress or a state legislature) the presentation of formal charges against a public official by the lower house, trial to be before the upper house. )

The main discussion here is about whether Fitzgerald will cooperate with the HOR, or hang on to gthe information that he has for his own purposes.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 2, 2009 6:44 PM
Comment #273069

j2t2,

You don’t think Barak could do the job asleep? You’re breaking ranks a little.

I don’t think this is a Constitutional matter. The Senate has a right to reject and/or oust members. I think they have good cause to do what they are doing. But it’s true, the Dems in the Senate have a lose/lose situation. They’ll have to be very careful what they say.

Posted by: Mark at January 2, 2009 9:17 PM
Comment #273074

“For Dems in Congress, it is a lose-lose situation.”

Perhaps in the short run it is marysdude.Let’s remember this is an issue for the state of Illinois to solve not the Federal government and not for our Congress to but into because they face some political fallout due to the Gov. of Illinois being a dem. To circumvent the will of the people for political expediency doesn’t bode well for the people of this Country when precedence is being set that reeks of totalitarian rule.
The prosecutor let the cat out of the bag before anyone paid to get into this office. Why? IMHO it was because he thought it was the best way to see justice done. Should he prove his case the Gov. is done in and the people get an untainted representative in Congress in the meantime. The holier than thou showboating by the various officials is all fine and they have won the battle but when they forget the rights of the accused under the constitution they have lost the war.

The Gov. has every right to select a replacement for the Senate seat. He is still in office. He has not been convicted of a crime. He has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Just because some prosecutor has charged him with a crime doesn’t mean there is proof that he is guilty. It is a basic guarantee that should be protected. To think that this basic presumption should be overridden to protect the Dems in the Senate from political embarrassment or to allow the repubs some cheap shots at Obama on the federal level reeks of Alberto Gonzales and his boss GWB. Certainly the dems can withstand some political pressure to remove the taint of the past 8 years.
The dems in Congress need to grow a backbone and let the system work. If they cannot handle the repubs in Congress over this issue then perhaps they need to resign themselves and find real work they are capable of. They need to acccept Burris into Congress with open arms and let the courts do their job in Illinois. Two years from now the voters in Illinois can decide what is best for them.

Look at Jefferson and how the dems in Congress handled it. In the end it was the voters in Louisiana that decided his time in office had come to an end, not the dems in Congress.

Mark No one could do the job asleep. I don’t think anyone would seriously expect him to whether they be dem or repub. Your expectational level is to high and one has to ask why?

How can it not be a constitutional issue. Since when can the Senate reject a duly appointed representative of the people without cause. This persecution of the innocent attitude does work for me. Neither does guilt by association. To taint Burris because of Blagojevich shows just what small minded politicians these people are. Time for them to show some statesmanship IMHO. It is also time that we the people expect and demand the same. We pay these people way to much to expect anything else.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 3, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #273077

Mark Montie, you are putting the cart before the horse. Blogojevich is entitled by the Constitution of the U.S. and the State of Illinois to his day in court BEFORE a determination of fitness to make an appointment can be rendered.

Until the state has PROVEN him unfit, the powers of his office remain intact and in his hands to wield as a legally elected choice of the Illinois people. ONLY THE RULE OF LAW may deprive the people of their elected choice. This is America, NOT Nazi Germany or Russia, or China, where parties choices are superordinate to the people’s choices.

We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not of people’s passions, especially partisan passions. Democratic elections in the U.S. cannot and should not be invalidated by partisan preferences and opinions, or cherry picked and selected excerpts of so called evidence. If a crime has been committed, it is incumbent upon the Attorney’s General offices to bring their indictments, and try the evidence before a duly constituted court of Blogojevich’s peers.

Until that takes place, he is to be presumed innocent and in full employ of his elected office. That is the American way and system as it should be, and intended by the Founders and those who followed establishing our jurisprudence and system of justice.

Enough with the insinuation that perhaps we should return to the system of McCarthyism, where the mere accusation was sufficient to deprive citizens of their careers, livlihoods, and reputations without a finding of fact.

I would like nothing more than for Blogojevich to resign as a result of consideration of the best interests of the office, the state, and the people of Illinois, given what I have heard. But, I have not yet heard all the evidence nor context, and neither have you, nor anyone else blogging here at WB. As Americans, we have an obligation to reserve judgment until we have heard all sides to this case. And we have NO RIGHT to deprive a person of their livlihood, office, or position until a case of fact has been proven, justifying such deprivation and punitive measures.

I have many times seen my own words here at WB taken out of context and construed to mean something wholly different than the full context of my original text. It is easy enough for adversaries to do. A true conservative will uphold conservative principle of the government having to prove its case before depriving citizens of their life, liberty, or pursuit of their happiness. Wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2009 12:53 AM
Comment #273085

I will concede the point that judgment needs to be reserved for a court of law. And that applies to the Senate rejecting Burris. But in many instances if there is probable cause to suspect wrong-doing on the job, the suspect would be put on probation during the investigation, at least for that particular aspect of the job. I don’t think that would infringe on Blagojevich’s Constitutional rights. But you’re right, David, that’s a matter for Illinois to deal with.

If and when Blago is convicted there will be more than the next two years with Burris to worry about. Blago will lose his office and probably go to jail. But the message to all other corrupt officials is not “clean up your act,” it’s “don’t get caught.”

I don’t know what it would take for the voters of Illinois to follow the example of the Louisianans and take on the corruption in their state. But I don’t think being a few months without a second senator would be too extreme.

j2t2,
The remark about Obama doing the job asleep was written tongue in cheek. I was referring to some of the more ridiculous soundbites from some of his supporters.

Posted by: Mark at January 3, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #273101

Mark, I don’t know either what it will take for Illinois voters to take on corruption. We can only hope that this scandal, regardless of its outcome, has raised the awareness and intolerance level for corruption high enough to cause the voters to demand more oversight and transparency of their representative’s actions and deeds, and demand laws with teeth that criminalize harshly the abuse of power in elected offices. Not bad judgment, but abuse of power and the advantage of power of office.

Clearly, if Blagojevich’s side of the story fails to nullify the apparent intent and motivation of the excerpts we have heard, the Illinois voters, regardless of party, should want and demand the power of law to remove him from office.

One of the great injustices and failures of our American system is the complete abrogation of our right to a speedy trial. This cuts both ways, not just the right of the individual accused, but, also the right of the people where an elected official is indicted for criminal intent or act. The people should have the right to that politician’s speedy trial and finding of fact, as well, so that their representative can effectively return to office if vindicated, or be removed quickly if found guilty.

Much of the corruption that takes place in our governments no doubt occurs in part because even if found out, there are no speedy remedies to be imposed, and political connections and favors too often result in commutation or pardon of sentences delivered unto political wrong doers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 3, 2009 6:47 PM
Comment #273124

Craig Holmes, “who did he think would buy the seat, and why did he think that?”

JP Pritzker or possibly Blair Hull would be the most likely. Someone described a Pritzker to me as the most arrogant person she ever met. The worthless gov doesn’t belong to any party. I was describing him as a republicrat back in 2004.

Some of the comments here about Chicago are pretty dumb. Bill Richardson of NM is being investigated now for the same type of pay to play deals as our worthles gov, and has apparently withdrawn for Commerce Sec, so maybe Penny Pritzker will get there yet.

Harry Reid apparently had some talks with our worthless gov, ABC new says that Reid asked him not to appoint JJJr. They are attaching a racial spin to this. Fitzgerald may take down more people with this than you think.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 4, 2009 3:46 PM
Comment #273214

ohrealy, I agree with you for a change, that Blagojevich’s personal greedy antics are no different than Abramoff’s or Dick Cheney’s in using government office to accumulate wealth for oneself, family, and friends. It is a disease that requires an Obama vaccination and it can’t come any too soon.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 6, 2009 6:29 PM
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