Getting ugly with the race card
...Greedy Democrats did not trust the voters, and now they face a guy selected by another guy who does a pretty good imitation of a crooked politician. I think Kass is probably right that the Democrats will back down. They were on pretty shaky constitutional grounds with their threat not to seat someone selected by Blagojevich anyway unless they could show a clear nexus to corruption. The taint of corruption will still haunt the Burris appointment and the Democrats, Maybe that is another reason why they are so worried about 2010.
"Let me just remind you that there is presently no African-American in the Senate," said Rush, the U.S. representative of the 1st Congressional District, whom the young Obama challenged years ago and got trounced by, teaching Obama to embrace the realities of Chicago politics: Go along and get along.
On Tuesday, Rush was obviously quite ill, but he was not mentally unstable. He was certainly strong enough to use the angry race language of the 1960s as he stood next to Burris and Blagojevich. Rush warned that no sitting Democrat would go on record for long to bar an African-American from taking the seat.
"I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy," Rush said.
Isn't that the old politics of race that Obama was to have transcended for us?
But there it was, out in the open again, the images of young men hanging from trees in old black-and-white photos offered up easily by Rush, who has himself cozied up to Mayor Richard Daley and for a time was in charge of a Daley political fund.
"And I don't think any senators want to go on the record to deny an African-American from taking a seat in the U.S. Senate," Rush said, ominously.
Grown-ups have seen such theater before. The only things missing were cameo performances by those two prolific race card players, Al Sharpton and Chicago's own Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Senate Democrats are talking tough now, saying they won't seat Burris, but that won't hold. The debate has been framed. The only African-American in the Senate leaves for the White House, another African-American is appointed to fill that spot, and Democratic politicians know they owe their livelihoods to African-American voters.
That talk about transcending race was just talk. Skin pigment trumps ideas, and Blagojevich, who may be facing a jury soon, wants all the friends he can get.
Of course, Tuesday's fiasco could have been avoided. Democrats in the state legislature could have stripped Blagojevich of his appointment powers and imposed a special election. Obama also could have demanded it. But as he has done so often in his career, Obama avoided a confrontation and looked the other way.