Friday, January 2, 2009

Blago vs Voters of Illinois

Rod Blagojevich is no saint. He's a classic Chicago politician who's taken Chicago politics to a new level. Or maybe he's just the first to get caught. But lost amid the furor over his appointment of Roland Burris to Barack Obama's vacant senate seat is the fact that he has not yet been tried, much less convicted, and is still the governor. His claim that he has the right and the responsibility to appoint a new senator is absolutely valid. 

The U.S. Senate has itself tolerated corruption on  huge scale for years. It has very little moral authority in this situation, and its refusal to seat Burris, who has not been connected in any way to this scandal, will likely result in a constitutional crisis. The voters of Illinois, and Chicago, in particular, have courted this crisis by ignoring and often embracing the culture of corruption from which this scandal was born. 

For now, however, the Senate must do its constitutional duty, hold its nose, and seat Mr. Burris. This is not a racial issue, as some have said. This is a constitutional issue. Mr. Burris may make a fine Senator in the end.

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