And anyway, I told the truth

December 30, 2008

So it looks like both the Senate Democrats and the Illinois Secretary of State have decided to ignore Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris to Illinois’ class 3 Senate seat (a.k.a. “Obama’s Senate seat).  Frankly, I’m disgusted at them.

Number one, Roland Burris is exactly the right choice.  A lot of people have expressed a desire for this seat (as well as the ones that are opening up in New York, Delaware, and Colorado) to be filled by a “placeholder,” and elder statesman who will stand down in 2010 and allow the democratic process to come up with a more permanent replacement.  Burris is 71, not exactly the age when a guy starts a long-term career in the US Senate.  And his record in office, as state comptroller and state AG, was completely impeccable.  Also, it would probably do some good to have at least one black person in the US Senate.  (Following the President-Elect’s resignation, we currently have zero.)

Number two, nothing gives any of these people the right to even think about not accepting the appointment.  The US Senate doesn’t have the authority to refuse governors’ appointments, only to judge election returns submitted to it.  The Supreme Court has ruled on this before, and there’s really no wiggle room here.  And, while I’m not familiar with Illinois constitutional law (yet), I think it’s pretty clear that the Secretary of State isn’t supposed to hold veto power over anything the Governor does.

They’d probably answer that Blago is a bad, bad man and that he’s lost his legitimacy as Governor, and therefore fuck him.  Um, what happened to the rights of the accused?  What happened to the presumption of innocence?  Blagojevich has only been indicted.  He has been convicted of nothing; he is an innocent man in the eyes of the law, and therefore exercises the full powers of the office of Governor of Illinois.  Speaking of which, he was elected twice to that office by the people of Illinois, and it’s not like it was a secret in 2006 that he had some ethical deficiencies.

We Democrats have been tripping over each other trying to demonstrate that we’re the party of clean government.  Lieutentant Governor Madigan and the Illinois Legislature are practically racing to see who can remove Blagojevich from office first.  The Obama-Biden transition team as well as every single Democrat in the US Senate have denounced Blagojevich’s choice.  But the central principles of American government are democracy, constitutionalism, and rule of law.  We shouldn’t throw those out the window because the court of public opinion has decided that someone did something improper.  (And, frankly, these sorts of deals happen all the fucking time.  The only egregious thing Blago did was be a little too crass about it.)


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