Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It would appear that at least some State of Illinois Democrats are trying to shoot themselves in their private parts given their unprecedented delay of the impeachment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. No, this isn’t another Duke Lacrosse case, rather a situation where Blagojevich was apparently caught with his hand (please, smile) in the cookie jar.

It’s unfortunate that some of the details of conversations Blagojevich is alleged to have had with at least one representative of a potential senatorial suitor were made public. They are, however, apparently just the tip of the iceberg of the evidence contained on the many audio tapes that constitute a preponderance of first hand (not hearsay) evidence that allegedly outs Blagojevich as an influence peddling, corrupt politician. The fact that Blagojevich has never denied making the statements does it for me. While it isn’t pretty, I really don’t see a lynch mob mentality here. The legal question becomes - is saying and using bad judgement the same as doing? The Governor's words appear to be bad enough to question his integrity as the top office holder in the State of Illinois.

To many he is now a disgraced caricature of a corrupt politician (“Mr. Unpopularity”) who can only say that he did nothing illegal. I guess that by Illinois standards this pales besides the Chicago Land political shenanigans of the previous century. Apparently Blagojevich has nothing to do now except stir the pot. He will probably have nowhere to go (except jail) if a jury of his peers finds him guilty.

We need to be fair and note that knowing that he had been under investigation for corruption charges for going on three years, Governor Blagojevich even issued an invitation, "I should say if anybody wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it.” He continued, "Whether you tape me privately or publicly, I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful and the things I'm interested in are always lawful." Is this an exercise of Nixonian arrogance or truth? We shall see…

There is no doubt that he will find little solace with his constituency given that his ratings are lower even than those of President Bush who along with most other Republicans of national note are mostly keeping their heads down while laughing out loud in their wash rooms. One recent Chicago Tribune poll reflected a 71% disapproval rating by Illinois voters. Politico.com reported only a 7% approval rating after the recent allegations were made against Governor Blagojevich.

Then in the middle of this whole mess Governor Rod Blagojevich named 71 year old former Illinois Attorney General Roland “Trail Blazer” Burris, the first African American to win statewide office in 1978, to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the US Senate. This not so surprising move came after state and national Democratic leaders criticized the prospect of Blagojevich proceeding with any appointment process. Most notable of those in protest were Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois (D) accompanied by all of the Senate’s Democratic Leadership.

Blagojevich’s latest delusional attempt to deflect from his own alleged peccadilloes is laughable and needs the immediate attention of the national Democratic hierarchy to right their ship. Their problems and challenges are legion. US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) comments in last Sunday’s Meet the Press (1/4/2009) demonstrated a strong Democrat Party resolve and his strong desire to block the Blagojevich nomination and quickly move to insure legitimate representation for the state of Illinois. It’s politics folks and this wind will soon shift direction. Even as of this writing negotiations continue that will guarantee Burris' seating.

Comes now the less than articulate U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, (D) from Chicago and former Black Panther who played the race card in recent public and mumbling statements by likening critics to the Blagojevich-Burris appointment to former segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace, who fought school integration in that state?

In an absolutely absurd and obscene statement Rush stated “The recent history of our nation has shown us that, sometimes, there can be individuals and there can be situations where school -- where you have officials standing in the doorway of schoolchildren.”

His reasoning is that since the U.S. Senate doesn’t have any Black members he didn’t believe that anyone would want to go on record opposing Burris?

In a fit of OJitis the sadly comical and racist Rush would have us accept this heinous appointment for no other reason than Burris is Black no matter the circumstances of the appointment. Rush would have you believe once more that the end will justify the means, however sinister. Sadly, several other African American representatives espoused a similar tact. Thankfully, many more African Americans including President elect Obama have opposed the appointment.

On a personal note, though I anguished long and hard, I voted for Barack Obama because I felt that he was and is the best candidate for The Country, at this time. I didn’t vote for him because he was from a particular racial or cultural group. Many of my Republican Friends who did likewise feel the same way.

Even with these extraordinary circumstances it would appear that many Illinois Democrats are now shying away from a special election because they are now afraid of losing that seat to the Republicans. So much for democracy…

On Monday Burris in an exercise of unprecedented and grandiose political theater and characterizing himself as the “Junior Senator from the State of Illinois,” presented himself to Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson who predictably and politely rejected his certification. Burris with an entourage of policeman, staff, and media from all corners of the world then held a news conference and declared, "I am a United States Senator. They can't stop me from doing my senatorial duties." Of course, he is not a Senator and will not be until he is administered the oath of office. On Sunday in a show of Christian bravado Burris invoked the Almighty, "We are hoping and praying that they will not be able to deny what the Lord has ordained." Geees!

Of course, the Lord didn’t ordain Burris’ appointment, Blagojevich did. While Burris has been cordially treated, his appointer has not. It appears to this writer that Burris will probably be seated on technical grounds though the motivation for his appointment remains highly suspect, even foul. Blagojevich played to the egocentric Burris who would appear to be looking for some more creative and impressive credentials for his memorial in Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery. All under the great seal of the state of Illinois, Burris has listed his accomplishments and has apparently left room for United States Senator. Wonder if they can erase the Illinois seal and replace it with the great seal of the United States of America?

But back to the Guvner… Most of the reactions against Blagojevich and his senate appointment have been less than subtle and not cordial at all. One anonymous blogger stated, “I have no words for the fact that this arrogant shit for the ages went ahead and made this appointment with the ink not yet dry on his complaints for conspiracy, fraud and soliciting bribes. It goes beyond hypocrisy and greed into delusional alternate reality.” Steve Brown, Spokesman for Blagojevich political foe and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) maintains, "It (the appointment) hasn't happened. That's only happened in some dark corner of the governor's mind.”

I disagree and give the embattled Governor Blagojevich more credit than that. However undisciplined he may be I believe that this is a carefully crafted strategy (perhaps even a bad joke?) and that Blagojevich is having a ball. He is in his element stirring the pot once again with an ever increasing fervor. Blagojevich has lived a life characterized by confrontation.

One Illinois voter recently classified Blagojevich as a “Narcissistic, sociopathic, remorseless bully.” I say from afar that he appears to be an egomaniac that thrives on attention of any type and is flipping off those who don’t cop to his agenda or point of view. What’s worse? The even more delusional and smiling pseudo appointee Roland Burris who is now circling the high eccentric former planet Pluto. Talk about fantasies… Why in God’s name would anyone want a representative who would accept an appointment under these circumstances? Just ask US. Rep. Danny Davis, an African American Congressman from Chicago who declined Blagojevich’s first offer.

Let Blagojveich have his fun and his day in court. While it may get expensive, the People of Illinois will probably have the last laugh…


Ned Buxton

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