Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Illinois Politics

I have to admit: I'm fascinated by would-be Senator Burris, though I'm not sure I envy him. What must Blagojevitch have said to him to convince him to embrace this unenviable position? My guess is something along the lines of, "You'd be a good Senator [always start with the butter] but you don't have a chance in hell if you don't take my offer. Go and be squeaky-clean and make a lot of noise and you might just pull this off."

I'm a little surprised that Blagojevitch picked a Democrat at all. It seems to me that he would have been in a much better position to protect himself and achieve some legitimacy if he'd picked a moderate Republican (maybe he couldn't find one?) and then let the G.O.P, desperate to be able to filibuster, fight his battles for him.

But then, the only constant in this whole thing is that Blagojevitch never seems to think things through. His strategy so far appears to be of the greedy sort -- not in the money sense, but in the "immediate reward" sense. It results in fireworks, lots of apparent minor victories, but in the long run the best he can hope for is a stalemate.

Which brings me back to Burris. I don't know what Blagojevitch gets out of this appointment. Is it supposed to prove that he didn't sell the seat after all, and by implication never intended to? Is he just trying to reward what little personal loyalty he can still find, or trying to create some? (If the latter, creating loyalty in an irrelevent forum is a little odd) Edit: The Economist thinks that it knows: it views the appointment as a trap, and pointed out that Burris would be the only black Senator. Getting the Democrats to accept his nominee would be a symbolic victory for Blagojevitch, and might be helpful to him in court, but would not save him. At best he can embarrass those who (rightly) did not stand by him.

In summary, I still think he should have picked me. I'd be an awesome Senator, and I even know where Illinois is, now.

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