Friday, January 9, 2009

To Seat Roland Burris, or Not to Seat Him: What's Dick Durbin Up To? (UPDATED: Trib Continues to Pound Quinn on Special Election)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said in a press conference this afternoon that Roland Burris, beleaguered Governor Rod Blagojevich's nominee to fill Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat, should not be seated in the U.S. Senate, despite a ruling today from the Illinois Supreme Court that says Secretary of State Jesse White's signature on the appointment paperwork is not necessary (White has refused, and continues to refuse, to sign). Durbin on one hand said that the U.S. Senate rule that the Secretary of State had to sign the appointment applies (and has never been waived) regardless of what Illinois law mandates. But Durbin also said that the issue of Burris' appointment should not be filled until the impending trial of Rod Blagojevich concluded, at which point Lt. Governor Pat Quinn would then have the authority to make this appointment "in a clean, legal way and make his recommendation and his appointment known to the United States Senate.''

Of course, this presupposes that Blago will be removed from office after trial in the state senate, although that seems very likely.

So, what's Durbin up to? Let's ignore for a moment that the issue of Jesse White's signature has nothing to do with Durbin's suggestion that the appointment must wait until after the impeachment, unless what he's trying to say is that he assumes that White would sign off on whomever Quinn would appoint, which would then make it a proper appointment under the Senate Rules (uh, does the U.S. Senate really want to say that all state secretaries of state have a de facto veto power over their governors' power to appoint a senator to a vacant seat?).

But the real question is, is Durbin anticipating that Quinn would 're-appoint' Burris to make it all 'nice and legal' (and perhaps attempt to remove the taint of the Blago appointment on Burris to give him a better chance for election in 2010)? Or, and this seems more likely, that the Dem leadership realizes that Burris is vulnerable to a solid GOP challenger like 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, and they do not want to risk having Burris be the Dem incumbent, who they would have to defeat in a primary.

We the public, of course, are also meant to ignore that at the outset of this whole fiasco, it was Dick Durbin who was beating the special election drum the loudest, until someone whispered "Mark Kirk" in his ear.

Thus, despite the glad-handing that occurred between Senators Reid and Durbin, and Roland Burris the other day, it seems to me that nothing is certain yet. TA is glued to watching this fascinating session of "As Illinois Politics Turns," and I'm sure you all are, too.

Saturday Morning Update: Lots of print news coverage of the impeachment this morning, of course, and you can easily find more yourself (indeed, you can't avoid it), but one thing I wanted to point out this morning was that the Tribune has not let up on its call for Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to commit to a special election.

The Tribune points out that the seat belongs to the people of the State of Illinois, not Quinn, Durbin, Reid or any other politicians. And, interestingly, if it turns out that the scheme here is for Quinn to legitimize the Burris pick after Blago is removed from office (as we speculated above as one possible reason behind these political gymnastics), the Trib appears strongly opposed to that. The Trib wants Quinn to start showing some leadership, now. Will he?

ALSO- found this Politico.com analysis of the inter-party gyrations that went on in Washington among Durbin, Reid, and other Dems as Blago's surprise appointment of Burris not only caught them completely off-guard, but then made several flubs as Burris and his supporters managed to turn the issue from Blago to one of race. A good read.

18 comments:

Publia said...

TA, you usually have everything right, and I imagine that your slight slip was due to blogging in a hurry, but Blago has already been impeached. In the hearings he will or will not be found guilty of the charges brought against him in the articles of impeachment.

Anonymous said...

Mark doesn't have 5 million left. He has maybe a few hundred grand and will need to raise at least $15 million this year-roughly $250k/week to be competitive. Given that he spends one weekend a month on duty, that's a tough task. Obama also has 14 million email addresses to write to tell them all about how many times Mark voted with Bush.

FOKLAES.

Team America said...

Publia, thanks, fixed dat.

FOKLAES, one thing you are forgetting is that in a state-wide race, with this much national attention, the fundraising base is much broader than Kirk has enjoyed simply within the 10th District, so turning the crack Kirk fundraising operation loose is going to be truly awesome to behold. The money will be there.

As as Obama goes, first, as we've said before, the statute on Mark W. Bush has run. Now that Bush is almost out of office and Obama has to come through on all the empty promises he made us, while he may seek to blame what he inherited on Bush, his ability to campaign for anyone else on this point is going to be limited. You saw how it worked for Dan Seals. It didn't.

Plus, if Obama hasn't figured out by now that every time he picks up the phone to give someone an order (i.e., Harry Reid) it makes national news, so considering how this issue has been treated so far in the press, if Obama has any brains at all, he will keep his paws off it, even in 2010. Should this somehow work out to where Burris is denied the seat and the Dems put in a non-African American, for Obama to campaign for that person while having sat by and let Burris get railroaded out of his seat, well now, that would be a sight to see!

Anonymous said...

You are right, Foklaes, the Kirk organization has, at best, a few hundred thousand in reserve. I'm not sure where that story came from that said he had 5 million. He did raise close to 5.5 million for his past election, but it was being spent almost as fast as it was received. Your point that the Obama machine is poised and ready to hold the Senate seat for a Democrat is right on point. I have no idea what Durbin is up to and I don't care. He is really no different than others in IL politics. Maybe even worse, but he hides it under that smile of his. Raising $250K a week is a daunting task when conditions are great much less when individuals are holding tight to every dime they can gather. PAC's have money, but that's chump change when you think about multiples of millions of dollars. The Republicans have never been great at using the internet to raise huge sums of money. The Obama machine just raised close to 30 million for the Inaugural events, most of it thru the internet. Timing is everything. I'm just not sure this is the right time for Mark Kirk to try to make this run for Senate. And with nobody in the wings to hold the 10th District seat, the prospect of another go-around with Dan Seals is more than I want to think about first thing on a Saturday morning, or any morning for that matter.

Anonymous said...

715, thanks for the props.

1. Fundraising: Mark's never raised more than $900k in a quarter, he will now have to raise $1.25 million a month. He will have to do that in addition to a heavy congressional schedule, pentagon, and keeping appearances here where there's no doubt Democrats will look to target him. That's 4 jobs in 4 locations and doesn't count foreign trips.

1a. Mark will have a tough time getting help from the national republicans where there are a lot of retirements and vulnerable Senators in addition to depressed donors and a party out of power and less attractive to lobbyists. The GOP will already be trying to keep Florida, Ohio, Kansas, Texas already in addition to New Hampshire and a few other places.

2. Democrats still use FDR against Republicans with jews. We use Reagan and his defense policies to beat Democrats. Nixon's southern strategy still works in some places. We are just beginning to pay for Bush politically. Mark W.Bush will be used over and over again. What Blago did to John McGovern and Topinka with George Ryan will be repeated here.

3. The White House has an office of political affairs and special initiatives geared toward keeping congressional seats. Obama's old seat won't be one they overlook and neither will the media. They know that the media will see Mark taking Obama's seat as a sign of his political weakness. Expect Burris or whoever runs to have every cabinet secretary, Senator, and top strategist here.

4. McKenna needs to go George Steinbrenner in his sense of urgency in building the party. If you go to a competitive state Bush won, you'll see what a top shelf county and state party looks like, and it's nothing close to what Mark has to work with. Those state parties have heavily wired in county chairmen with national reputations, who regularly put out press releases and run great state level races. These people are trained and don't need to be awakened from the dead to go win races.

FOKLAES

Anonymous said...

TA

Did you see the pups oped in the Chicago Tribune today about Illinois Campaign Finance laws? Guess he's finally come out from under the rock.

Team America said...

Anon 8:22- thanks for the heads-up. I was just getting to the section of the Trib when I saw your note, so I'm pleased that I had a warning before I actually spit out my coffee or something. I'm shocked that Seals also didn't campaign on a credential of "guest editorialist for the Chicago Tribune" during the campaign, just like he claimed to be an NU professor long before he actually made it into the classroom.

But, having just read the article, I think it's remarkable for not having one original thought in it. It's simply a summary or reiteration of what most people that are educated in Illinois politics have been saying for years. It pretty much re-emphasizes our opinion that Seals was, and still is, an empty suit.

Curious why he chose THIS topic to write on. It doesn't give him the opportunity to mention that's he's against the war in Iraq, or that Mark Kirk is the same as George W. Bush. I almost wish he'd just stick to what he thinks he knows, if he's going to insist on continuing to embarrass himself by staying in public life.

Anonymous said...

Paying attention to Dick Durbin's comments always leaves me with a migrane.

He was the first to call for a special election for Obama's vacant senate seat, now he claims that the Illinois Supreme Court's decision that Jesse White as Illinois Secretary of State need not sign off on the Roland Burris appointment which according to Burris, God told Blagojevich to do, still isn't good enough.

But now Durbin is no longer calling for a special election and wants to wait and see what happens to Blagojevich's impeachment trial. Anyone want to place bets that Blagojevich will not escape being found guilty and will be removed from office? Is Durbin truly a sap or just behaving like one? That is like betting right now that the Chicago Bears will be in the Super Bowl on February 1, 2009!

Now Durbin is stating that in spite of the Illinois Supreme Court's decision, the U.S. Senate Rules still demands that White sign off and Burris will not be seated until White signs.

So a U.S. Senate Rule that governs the internal conduct of the U.S. Senate supercedes the law? The U.S. Senate is thus above the law? Is that what you are trying to tell us today, Dick Durbin? That the law doesn't matter? Aren't YOU sworn to uphold the laws of the land too?

Tomorrow should bring yet another story from Durbin and his fearless leadership style. And the Tribune today exposes the extraordinary efforts Roland Burris made back in 2006 to elect Blagojevich. Not enough folks are talking about how how Burris jumped in to sabotage the Vallas campaign against Blagojevich back in 2002, leading to a close Blagojevich win in the primary.

My aspirin awaits.

Spent the day yesterday mostly in the car and elected to listen to "progressive radio" AM 820. It is always good to listen to the knee-jerkers of the left wing to see what is turning them on once in a while. It appears that the so called "progressives" have decided that Blagojevich is really innocent and the charges of the Illinois House are completely meritless.

Just so we understand where the ethics of the extreme far left of the Democratic party are these days.

Louis G. Atsaves

Anonymous said...

King Louis Astaves of the Tenth Blogosphere-

Your frustration is well taken which is why it is so baffling that Mark and Andy McKenna can't be troubled to put on a game face and to get after it. Illinois is a huge state with no shortage of resources or brainpower and yet these guys seem to think that sliding by is a-ok. Mark could be a Senator and we could have Tim and Keith kicking ass in Springfield but that would require actually searching for ideas, messages, and leadership and no one seems to want to leave their board meetings or committee hearings on chad.

As proof-the Democrats when they took Congress regularly reached out to their blogs. While Team Kirk reads this thing like a 10th grader cramming for a test, I doubt Mark has ever bothered to do an online q and a with team, backyard conservative, and various others.

Anonymous said...

OK, OK, I know a blog is for comments, pro and con, fair, unfair, and on and on and on. But I'm getting so tired of listening to all this ragging about our exceptional Congressman. Do you critics know this man? Have you attended his Model Congress and see what he does for the young people of the District? I've volunteered at this event each time he's had it and am marveled and what these young people do with his help. Have you talked to him about issues and listened to his explanations? This man works harder in one month then the esteemed John Porter did in his entire time in the Congress.

Do you know Andy McKenna? Have you ever talked to him? He is civility at its best and it's a shame the Republicans did not chose him in the Senate primary several years ago when they decided Jack (pretty face) Ryan should be our standard bearer. And when the party stalwarts made him resign those same stalwarts brought in Alan Keyes who of course was killed by Obambi who started running for President the minute he got to the Senate. And now will bring Chicago style politics to the entire country while trying to bring socialism in as well.

Stop blaming Mark and Andy for the woes of the party and expecting them to turn this sinking ship around and make everything right.
It will take all of us to do that and an electorate who wakes up and smells the coffee although I doubt that will ever happen to the residents of Illinois who keep reelecting the crooks who have been running the state for years.

Stop complaining and start helping yourself to bring our party back. Join your local Republican organization, become a precinct captain, work for a candidate. Sure, the 10th district is becoming more liberal but we have a message and we need to get that message out. AND WE HAVE TO BE MUCH MORE INCLUSIVE AND THAT MEANS WELCOMING MODERATES AS WELL AS ULTRA CONSERVATIVES. Stop bitching and start working and stop expecting Mark Kirk and Andy McKenna to right this ship. They need all our help.

Baxter and Beau's Mom

Publia said...

Andy McK. isn't friendly enough. He is either shy or doesn't like people. It is possible he is snobbish but that is a rough charge and probably unfounded. He shows up a lot but never takes much time to meet the people. That costs him and the Republicans in general.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Baxter and Beau's mom! Well stated. If the blame game doesn't stop and the organizing of those who sincerely want to help we have only ourselves to blame when 2010 elections come around. And they're coming, folks. Andy McKenna is NOT a snob, he is a also not a shy and retiring guy. Have you ever gone up to him and just talked to him? Better yet, have you called State Party office and offered to help in any way? Andy doesn't need me to shout his praises. He's a great guy, is trying to do the best job he can given the few of us who have stepped forward to help. Get off the damn sidelines, take an active role in helping find some new activists. Let's get moving forward and stop the incessant complaining.

Anonymous said...

The McKenna/Kirk Record
1 Lost Gubernatorial Race
2 Lost U.S. Senate Races
2 Lost Presidential Races/Illinois
3 Lost GOP U.S. House seats
0 U.S. House seats taken
Seats Lost in IL Senate
0 Seats Lost in IL House
1 Turncoat U.S. Rep now advocating for a democrat president (LaHood)

-You have to be a democrat to want this failure to go on.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:44 - And what have you done to help the party and win elections?

Anonymous said...

I'm not the one running the party. McKenna and Mark are in charge and are not cutting it politically. You can't ask for a bigger opening than the Democrats are giving us right now and what are they doing about it?

If Mark runs and loses next year there is zero, zippo, nothing left in the tank for this party at any level after 5 terms of him being in Congress, and 3 cycles of McKenna leadership. Watch the tape from the hearing last week where Julie Hamos, a local state rep gives a verbal handjob to Senator Roland Blagoyevich-and McKenna has nothing to capitalize on that. No press release, no public relations campaign, no sustained grassroots mobilization. Nothing.

5th biggest state in the nation, Texas, California, Florida all have Republican Governors and or Senators and benches to draw on and New York is coming off 15 years of GOP dominance with GOP NYC mayors.

We however can't get a pulse.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:10. Again, what have you done to help the party. Stop complaining and get involved.

Anonymous said...

So are we to accept the fact that we have some old time Mexican standoff? It is NOT Mark Kirk's fault or Andy McKenna's fault,folks, it's our collective responsibilities lacking in all of this. The power of one. Let's get off our backsides, start drawing upon some of the really bright folks out here and elsewhere who want to make the sun shine again.

Can we call for an organizational meeting ASAP? Who will take the leadership role in getting this going? TA has this Blog so perhaps this is our best shot at a first step in the organizing process. It's just idiotic to continue complaining and blaming and doing nothing. Time is short. Let's do it.

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