My latest column at Pajamas Media is up. I look at Blago’s master stroke of changing the dynamics of his personal political situation and throwing the ball into Harry Reid’s court as far as the senate choice is concerned.
On the surface, this was a brilliant stroke by Blagojevich. By rolling the dice and naming Burris, he puts the onus of rejecting a supremely qualified African-American candidate smack on Senator Reid’s shoulders while perhaps even currying favor with Illinois blacks. In addition, if Reid were somehow to reverse himself, the drive for impeachment would slow considerably. The process had already been reduced to a crawl as a result of the holidays, and any urgency to impeach Blagojevich would dissipate because the idea was to get him out of office quickly so that he couldn’t name Obama’s successor.
To those who might wonder why this changes anything with regard to impeachment, it is important to remember that in Illinois politics all politicians are guilty until convicted. Then they are simply unelectable. Illinois House Democrats will move no faster than they have to. And if the Senate accepts Burris (or is forced to accept him), impeachment will proceed much more deliberatively.
Burris served from 1979-1991 as comptroller of the state and from 1991-1995 as attorney general. He is currently head of Burris & Lebed Consulting of Chicago, a high powered lobbying and consulting firm that, according to the Chicago Sun Times, has gotten nearly $295,000 in state contracts since 2004. Burris and his partners have donated more than $20,000 to Blagojevich since 2004.
In the news conference introducing him, Burris alluded to the idea that he was pleased Blagojevich had named another African-American to replace Obama and he pleaded with his “good friend” Senator Dick Durbin to talk with him about being accepted by the Senate. And it appears virtually certain that Blagojevich will fight to seat his choice, as Burris said during the press conference, “I welcome the challenge that awaits us.”
Read the whole thing.