Not exactly the new generation

Gwin Ifil’s phrase “not exactly the new generation” is as good a description as any for the appointment of Roland Burris to become Illinois’ junior Senator.

While I’m skeptical of symbolic appointments in the first place, there’s no question that the choice of Burris is particularly bad. Burris harkens back to the sort of race-based campaign that many people voted for Obama to banish. Further, a figure of the past, Burris is yet another “back to the future” candidate.

A better choice would have been Tammy Duckworth.


While as a Republican I of course favor a statewide election in Illinois (which would give my party some chance to win the seat), Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran and like Obama has a gripping personal story. This post is not an endorsement of Duckworth’s policies or positions. Rather, it is a statement of my regret that once against the Democratic Party has let itself be maneuvered into the politics of the past rather than building a bridge to the future.

5 thoughts on “Not exactly the new generation”

  1. I’m not sure a 71 year old is smart choice if Blogo or the party is thinking of someone who will be a good competitor in 2010.

    In any case, Harry Reid stated today that the senate will not seat Blogo’s appointment.[1]

    “But Reid, in a statement released from his office, said no way, no how.

    “This is not about Mr. Burris. It is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate,” he said.

    Asked to explain how the Senate could expel an appointed senator who qualifies to sit in the chamber, Reid said the judgment will be based on whether Blagojevich is qualified, not Burris.

    “We are not making a judgment about qualifications of (the) appointee, but about whether (the) appointment itself is tainted by fraud. … This is like judging the integrity of an election, free from fraud or corruption. It’s the process that led to the appointment, not the appointee’s fitness,” he said.

    Reid noted that three weeks ago the entire Senate Democratic caucus urged Blagojevich to avoid taking “the imprudent step of appointing someone to the United States Senate who would serve under a shadow and be plagued by questions of impropriety.”

    I hope the Senate sticks to their guns on this and I hope the president elect backs them up.


  2. Brent,

    Great points, and I agree.

    P.D. Shaw wrote [1]:

    5. The Republicans still have a chance at the Senate seat the next election.

    I think that’s true. The Ill. Gov seems to be striking back at his own party for leading the effort to remove him. Instead of an Obamariffic pick like Duckworth, the Ill. Gov seems to have nominated someone virtually immune to a primary battle and nearly doomed in the general.


  3. Dan
    Good news. Obama seems to be offering unambigous support for Reid’s position.[1]

    “Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Governor Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it,” Obama said in a statement.

    This would seem to bode well both for Obama’s professed goal of government transparency and for the ability of the Obama administration to stand up to the lesser angles of the Democratic party.


  4. Brent,

    Absolutely agreed. This is a good move by Obama.

    I think everyone who reads this blog knew I was behind McCain in the general election. However, Barack Obama has proven himself to be a fine President-Elect.

    At the time that others double-down on the race card [1,2]:

    Rep. RUSH: Well, let me just say this, you know, the recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where school children–where you have officials standing in the doorway of school children. You know, I’m talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m talking about George Wallace, Bull Connors and I’m sure that the US Senate don’t want to see themselves placed in the same position. I know my friend Harry Reid…

    Barack Obama is standing up for a better kind of politics. Good for him, and good for us


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