His pick, Roland Burris, seems like an honorable man, a former Illinois Attorney General and, apparently, the Dean of African-American politicians within the state. I haven't heard or read a bad word about the guy, except regarding the super-awkward press conference today. From what I gather, Burris is almost unreproachable, a sign of the devious political calculation on Blagojevich's part.
The Senate Dems are not amused. The are threatening not to seat Burris in the Democatic caucus. They constitutionally might not be able to do anything about the appointment, but they don't have to accept Burris into their ranks. Not seating Burris, however, could also be problematic:
But Burris could be a tough appointment to reject. Any appointment other than Blagojevich himself, or someone directly and obviously connected with his troubles would be, really. ... Yes, Democrats pledged as a block to do exactly that -- and by blunt force they could try it, though there's precedent to the contrary -- but will they do it? Even if the person appointed has no apparent connection to Blagojevich's entanglements, and no record of questionable activities of their own?I would hate to live in Illinois right now.
And more importantly, even if it means pitting a body of 98 mostly white people against one African-American who at least so far appears to have done nothing wrong?
Update: Obama's statement agreeing with Senate Democrats.