Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shame on Illinois Democrats


Yesterday, scandal-ridden Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich did what many feared he would do - he appointed someone, (Roland Burris) to serve out Obama's US Senate term. The hue and cry is enormous - everyone on both sides of the aisle are condemning this appointment as illegitimate. There are threats by the state attorney general to refuse to certify the appointment and threats by the Democrats who control the US Senate to refuse to seat Burris. But it's far from guaranteed that they will be able to legally exercise that authority and the courts may overrule them and Burris will be seated anyway. And by deliberately picking an African American, Blagojevich has cynically put race into the equation as well. This environment is the last thing the new Obama administration needs as they come to Washington.

But the Illinois state legislature had a chance to do the right thing, and the majority Democrats balked. They had the chance to strip the governor of the power to appoint someone to vacant US Senate seats and organize a special election instead. Legislation was brought forth to do just that. But Democrats, fearing that a special election, right after this scandal, would possibly grant victory to a Republican, balked at the move and defeated the bill.

My politics are decidedly left of center, and generally, I prefer a Democratic controlled Senate. But they already have that control and this is only one seat. The Illinois legislature Democrats all condemned Blagojevich and vowed to stop him from appointing anyone to Obama's Senate seat. But when they had the chance to do so, they allowed petty partisan politics to enter the equation.

If they had supported the legislation, they, and any Democratic Senate hopefuls could have claimed the moral high ground. Their rejection of Blogojevich and his legacy would have been beyond reproach and the Democratic candidates would have had a better chance of winning. Instead, they played games and shot themselves in the foot.

And beyond that, they put petty politics over doing the right thing. Shame on them!

No comments:

Post a Comment