Archive for the ‘racial politics’ Category

Burris, Senate, Racial Politics For Democrats This Week

January 5, 2009

The defiant move by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name a Senate successor to Barack Obama has triggered a political and legal mess that could drag on for months and is already prompting uncomfortable racial questions for Democrats.

The case also presents Senate Democrats with a major distraction hanging over their return to Washington this week for the start of the new Congress.

By &

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made clear that he won’t swear in Roland Burris, the 71-year-old former state comptroller and attorney general who was appointed to the Senate by Blagojevich  last week. But Democratic Senate aides are tamping down the idea that Burris would be physically blocked by Capitol Police when the Senate is gaveled into session Tuesday. Burris has said that he will leave upon being denied entry to the Senate chamber.

But Reid’s office isn’t backing down on its plan to not seat Burris — and top advisers to Burris are suggesting that Reid doesn’t want an African-American to succeed Obama.

“It’s interesting that all those who are viable are white women and the ones who are unacceptable are black men,” Prince Riley, a senior consultant to Burris, told Politico.

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Blagojevich Playing Chicago-Style Hardball; Who Will Respond?

January 2, 2009

Political circuses just don’t get any better than this — unless you happen to care about a new administration taking power in the midst of national and international catastrophes.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich knows how to make life hell for his enemies, who now encompass almost everyone in the Democratic Party, including President-elect Barack Obama. Yet “almost everyone” is the operative phrase. Roland Burris, the veteran African American politician, discovered an affection for the embattled governor after Blagojevich appointed him to Obama’s Senate seat Tuesday.

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post

And even though the Senate’s Democratic leaders, with Obama’s support, said they would not seat any Blagojevich appointee, Burris refused to back down. “The appointment is legal,” Burris told CNN on Wednesday. That slogan lacks the power of, say, “Change We Can Believe In,” but it’s true.

Rep. Bobby Rush entered the Racial Politics Hall of Fame on Tuesday when he asked reporters not to “hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer.” The Chicago Democrat, who only recently said that Blagojevich did not have the standing to fill the seat, raised the stakes Wednesday on CBS by suggesting that if Democratic senators rejected Burris, they would risk comparisons with George Wallace or Bull Connor.

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