PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts


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  1. One presumes that the Major Leader will attempt to reject a Blagojevich appointees based on the following language from Article I, section 5:


    I assume that Reid tried to carry water for the Chicago machine (or possibly even Obama) and got his bluff called. I think there’s a very low probability that Reid will attempt anything, not wanting to be seen as a modern Bull Connors, standing in the door of the senate to keep out the lone Black member.

    Comment by Buckland — Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 10:04 pm

  2. Except, of course, they have already issued the statement in question, which doesn’t comport with your theory. And I really can’t see how seating a Blago appointee serves Obama’s interest one whit.

    However, the bottom line is that I don’t think that the Leadership has the legal authority to reject Burris.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, December 30, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

  3. Regardless of the legal technicalities of what Reid can do, it seems to me that he’s been checkmated here. I’m not informed on IL politics in general, but the fact remains that no one seems to be seriously questioning Burris’ qualifications or integrity; opposition to him is solely based on the grounds that Gov. F-bomb is involved. The problem is that even if barring Burris can legally pass muster, Reid and the Democrats lose.

    If I understand the math given the MN toss-up, any votes that the Senate undertakes before that race is settled would have a filibuster threshold of 59 rather than the usual 60. That puts Burris in a unpredictable linchpin position, whereas the Democratic Senator from IL should (let’s face it) be a fairly ironclad party-line vote. Depending on Burris’ ideological leanings and personal temperament, he might well decide:

    * Since he has explicitly stated that he will only serve the remainder of Obama’s Senate term and not run for re-election in 2010 (at age 73), no electoral considerations need apply.

    * If he ends up in the Senate anyway but will not be seated by the Democratic caucus, he may be open to becoming the Midwest’s version of Joe Lieberman - simultaneously distrusted and courted by both sides.

    * Depending on the level of pariahship imposed upon him, and considering the weird math involved (especially with MN still in the toss-up column), he may enjoy siding with the GOP caucus (or at least threatening to) in order to extract concessions - a threat that a Democrat from IL couldn’t credibly make under ordinary circumstances.

    The racial argument (which essentially dares Reid to bar potentially the only African-American Senator from the seat vacated by the first African-American President) is cynical, spurious and insulting but not inconsequential. An immense amount of political Kabuki can be extracted from this theme alone, and we all know how popular Kabuki is on Capitol Hill. How will that work out with the so-called “no-drama Obama” administration trying to get its agenda enacted before the “honeymoon” is over?

    I hate to say it, but at this stage the Mighty Hairdo appears to have picked a bulletproof appointee, and I think Reid knows it.

    Comment by Leonard — Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  4. I agree with commenter #3. One of the real problems here is Reid. He should have kept his mouth shut about a possible appointment and just waited to see who F-bomb appointed. Seeing how Burris won’t run again, he’s actually a good appointment. Illinois gets a vote in the Senate and then a competitive open-seat election in 2010.

    Comment by King Politics — Wednesday, December 31, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

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