White Men Can't Pull the Race Card
What's more pathetic? That Rod Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat for six figures or bought by Roland Burris with just $20,000? Or that Illinois's chief executive, as a white man, is trying to pull the race card in order to justify his hubristic defiance of the US Senate to the detriment of his party?
The more Rod Blagojevich tries to wave away the cloud of corruption that hangs over his administration like stale cigar smoke in the back room of a Chicago speakeasy, the more taint he spatters on members of his own party.
The Illinois Governor must have struggled mightily to make the safest, least controversial choice available to him. But in the end, even discounting the breathtaking defiance of the US Senate's Democratic leadership, Blagojevich still couldn't obtain enough elbow room to get away from a lobbyist who benefited well from his administration.
And the dirtier Democrats are proven to be when it all hits the fan, the more they sound like Republicans when protesting their innocence, defending their decision-making and even pull the race card when convenient.
And there are few things in politics that are more pathetic and laughable than a white man trying to pull the race card. We got enough of that nearly four years ago when Senate Republicans during Alberto Gonzales's Attorney General confirmation hearings pre-emptively cited racial prejudice against Hispanics when Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were justifiably alarmed by Gonzales signing off on a torture memo.
And, whether pulled by Republicans or Democrats, the real issue for the opposition is rooted in anything but race yet this inconvenient fact is strenuously ignored.
In "An empty suit for an empty seat", the Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman has Burris' essential character pegged. Burris, a career seat warmer who, like so many characters on Capitol Hill and in state governments from coast to coast, didn't succeed as much as he survived by not being controversial. In touting his senatorial credentials, Blagojevich stated that Burris had never lost an election to a Republican.
True enough but that's largely because, more often than not, he couldn't get past his rival for his party's nomination (including Blagojevich himself). Burris is mainly distinguished for his 12 year tenure as state comptroller and his failed quest for a legitimately-obtained Senate seat and three equally failed bids for the corner office in the Illinois state house. His inoffensive blandness was both the key to his success and his failure.
All that changed during the press conference in which Burris was officially reintroduced to the public eye by the Governor and the usually mild-mannered Burris wasted little time in ridiculing reporters who wondered aloud if he deserved the seat. For good measure, Blagojevich tapped former Black Panther and Illinois lawmaker Bobby Rush to use subtle words such as "hang" and "lynch" to preempt attempts to defy his white boss. No, no residual memories of Clarence Thomas there.
What should have been an otherwise honest and distinguished public service career may have been brought to an end, with Burris being reduced to a future asterisk appended to a statewide scandal and joining other clownish quasi-political asterisks such as Gennifer Flowers, Oliver North, Willie Horton and Joe the Plumber. He'd already proven himself to be a hypocrite when it came to gun control, in refusing to surrender his pistol while asking others to do so. This time around, Burris' convenient amnesia regarding Blagojevich's alleged abuse of power may not be so easily forgiven by Illinois or America in general.
Burris, Illinois' own Michael Mukasey, an elderly, retired placeholder and perennial second banana, should've had the sense to say Thanks but no thanks to Rod Blagojevich. At 71, Burris is more than old enough to realize that any recess appointment, I think we can call this, will automatically be suspect and casting doubt, justified or otherwise, on the new senator's credibility and honesty.
Blagojevich, through his overweening pride, insists on dragging his own party through the mud, defying the United States Senate and helping an old man self-destruct his own public service record rather than letting the Illinois legislature do its job and choosing Mr. Obama's replacement. Blagojevich's illogical gambit would be reprehensible enough even if Obama had 4-6 years left in his term. It's especially stupid and senseless when one remembers that there's only two years left in it.