Wow. Despite requests from essentially everybody to avoid appointing a senator to fill Barack Obama’s senate seat, Ron Blagojevic has decided to tap Illinois Attorney-General Roland Burris to the seat. Back in 2002, Burris ran against Blagojevic in the primary with Obama’s support. The Senate Democrats aren’t happy:
The Democratic leaders of the Senate repeated that view on Tuesday, issuing a statement saying it was “truly regrettable that despite requests from all 50 Democratic Senators and public officials throughout Illinois, Governor Blagojevich would take the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety.”
The statement continued, “We say this without prejudice toward Roland Burris’s ability, and we respect his years of public service. But this is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Under these circumstances, anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus.”
The leaders concluded by saying the appointment was “unfair to Mr. Burris, it is unfair to the people of Illinois and it will ultimately not stand.” They called on the governor once again to resign.
What a weird development. Part of the shame of it is that Burris seems like a perfectly well-qualified choice, but the circumstances put him under an unavoidable cloud of suspicion.