After the flurry of events in the latest chapter of the Rod Blagojevich scandal, a recap of yesterday's news seems to be in order:
- It is reported that Blagojevich will hold a press conference where he will name Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
- Reacting to the news, the Democratic leadership issues a statement:
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 ... 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.
- Upping the ante, the Illinois Secretary of State says "he'll reject any paperwork that Gov. Rod Blagojevich files to name a new U.S. senator."
- Nonetheless, Blagojevich makes the announcement, saying:
Please don't allow the allegations against me to taint a good and honest man ... This is about Roland Burris as a U.S. senator, not about the governor who made the appointment.
- And with that, the debate began again on whether the Senate could legally block a Blagojevich appointment. The answers range from yes, to maybe, to no, guaranteeing only one thing...this thing will end up in court.
- And just because the story needed a little more drama, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) decided to inject the race card:
I don't think any U.S. senator ... wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate ... I would ask you not to hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointor.
- Then it was time for President-elect Obama to weigh in:
Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it. I believe the best resolution would be for the Governor to resign his office and allow a lawful and appropriate process of succession to take place. While Governor Blagojevich is entitled to his day in court, the people of Illinois are entitled to a functioning government and major decisions free of taint and controversy.
And that is where things stand today. In the coming days, the lawyers will argue over exactly what Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution means, Roland Burris will be put under a microscope, the Republicans will milk the story for all it's worth, and we'll be left to speculate on Rod Blagojevich's motives for taking this course of action.
Is he an innocent man, who simply fulfilled his duty as Governor? Was it a cheap ploy to take the heat off of him and put it on the Democratic leadership? Could it be that he was "crazy like a fox, playing to future black jurors"? Or did he think "it buys him time in office"? Personally, I think he did it because he's an asshole who's lost everything, and he wants to trash the joint before he's impeached. What do you think?