Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Between a Rod and a hard place? Or it becomes about race...

Recommended read from Politico, Obama: Between a Rod and a hard place which points out that race is a factor in the Senate replacement:

Blagojevich, who has been charged with attempting to sell the Senate seat, announced Tuesday he was tapping Roland Burris, the first African-American to win statewide election in Illinois and the closest thing in the state to a black elder statesman.

But Obama is backing efforts led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to block Burris, saying Blagojevich is too tainted by corruption charges to make the pick.

It’s not clear Reid can block Burris. But Obama’s bigger headache could come from a longtime South Side congressman and one-time rival – Rep. Bobby Rush – who is unmistakably daring officials not to block the ascension of an African-American to replace Obama.

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Until now, Obama and other Democrats have been able to isolate Blagojevich. But Rush’s blessing leaves Obama caught between the Senate leadership and two leading, old-guard African-Americans politicians in his home state.

Further adding to the race factor, is this:
Blagojevich's public support has plummeted sharply, even before his arrest, but the governor still maintained sizable support from the African-American community. In dismissing the threat of Democratic U.S. senators, Blagojevich said he was "absolutely confident and certain" that Burris would be seated in the Senate and Rush said, "I don't think that anyone, any U.S. senator who's sitting the Senate right now, wants to go on record to deny one African American from being seated in the U.S. Senate."

It's clear that Blagojevich is playing hardball how hard the Democratic Party and the Senate plays back remains to be seen.

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