In his column on Mayor Richard J. Daley's death (it re-ran December 19, 2006, just before the 30th anniversary of Daley's death on December 20, 1976) , Royko noted that Daley had been -ahem- impolite when addressing Abe Ribicoff during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He said that Daley was pretty much playing "Chicago style:"
That's part of the Chicago style -- belly to belly, scowl to scowl, and may the toughest or loudest man win.Blagojevich is doing something similar, although in his case we might add "haircut to haircut" to Royko's words. Back earlier in December, all 50 sitting Democratic senators signed a letter asking the gov to step down and at the very least, not try nominating anyone to succeed Obama. In that letter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said the Democratic caucus of the Senate would not seat whomever Blagojevich might nominate. But Blagojevich didn't resign, and since he's still the governor until he resigns, gets kicked out of office or convicted of the crimes charged against him, he can still appoint someone to Obama's seat. And so he has done.
Now the Senate has made a new statement, in which they say again they won't seat the man Blagojevich appointed, former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. Burris has also run for governor, and the last time he ran, in fact, he lost to Blagojevich -- although he's also a regular donor to Blagojevich campaigns. That toddlin' town.
Given what we've seen and heard of ol' Blago, it's likely he is reacting in that Chicago style described by Royko -- "I'm the bleepin' governor, and the bleepin' Constitution says I can appoint a bleepin' senator, so I'm appointing a bleepin' senator. What the bleep are you bleeps gonna bleepin' do about it?" He's also shown enough chutzpah and a small enough amount of class that he could be just playing with people's heads for awhile -- the Illinois Secretary of State has now said he won't certify the appointment, which Illinois state law may not allow him to do. The US Senate, which promoted its only black member into the White House, must now figure out how to say no to a black politician being seated within their ranks without making him look bad and stressing how little they have against him. It's his friends that bother them, you see. Well, one friend, anyway.
If Blago is impeached, the man who succeeds him, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, will make the appointment. Blago and Quinn apparently don't get along, so Quinn will be saddled with saying why he wouldn't pick Burris if he's such a great guy who would be a great Senator if anybody else had picked him for the seat. And the gov probably doesn't get to have much fun these days, so maybe this is his amusement.
The corruption and general political ick factor going on here is really not funny, but it will be interesting to see if Sen. Reid, the very dimmest bulb in a state full of neon, sticks with his guns or has to fold based on legal challenges or a general lack of political courage.
Ain't no party like the Chi Demo party, 'cause the Chi Demo party don't stop...