Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) appointed Roland Burris, 71, to fill the U.S. Senate seat he is accused of trying to sell, said The Washington Post in an editorial. And despite Burris’s “strong credentials”—the state’s first black attorney general and the first African American elected to statewide office—the tainted appointment “cannot be allowed to stand.” Senate Democrats should follow through on their threat to not accept Burris as President-elect Obama’s replacement.
“Legally, they can’t,” said Will Bunch in the Philadelphia Daily News online. “People are understandably outraged” by Blagojevich’s “affront to political decency,” but a landmark 1969 Supreme Court case limits the Senate’s ability to reject his choice—Burris is legally eligible to be a U.S. senator. Democrats should give up this fight and instead “rally behind” some 2010 Illinois candidate “not named Ronald Burris.”
Burris has done nothing wrong, said John Cole in Balloon Juice, and “all this pearl-clutching” about the impropriety of his selection “makes me want to vomit.” Until Blagojevich resigns, is impeached, or is convicted, he’s still legally the governor and his pick of Burris legally valid. If the governor is “so corrupt that he cannot appoint an innocent and good man,” Democrats need to stop “playing games” and “get rid of him.” Otherwise, “suck it up and deal.”
Looks like Blagojevich has “outfoxed” his party, said Andrew Malcolm in the Los Angeles Times online. Not only does his “brilliant and cunning and cynical political move” show he’s still in charge in Illinois, it also makes the public fight “more over seating Burris in Washington than unseating Blago in Springfield.” And it hands Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “one helluva hot potato”—if Democrats blocks Burris, they block “the Senate’s sole African American.”
The reliance on “race baiting” to sell Burris “is dangerous and destructive,” said the Illinois Northwest Herald in an editorial. Unlike Blagojevich, Burris has served Illinois “with integrity”—it’s a pity that he’ll now be remembered for “the crass opportunism and tone deafness he displayed in accepting Blagojevich’s offer.”