December 31st, 2008
07:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Is Blagojevich playing a game of racial 'chicken'?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Roland Burris as his pick for Illinois' open Senate seat on Tuesday.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Roland Burris as his pick for Illinois' open Senate seat on Tuesday.

(CNN) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick of a prominent African-American to succeed Barack Obama in the Senate has led to suggestions that the move is calculated, but the governor says he's just doing his job.

Blagojevich on Tuesday announced he'd appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace Obama in the Senate, ignoring warnings from Senate Democrats who say they will block anyone he appoints.

Obama said Tuesday that he agrees with the Senate Democrats' decision to block an appointment by Blagojevich, but it's unclear if the Senate has the right to do so.

FBI agents arrested the governor on December 9 after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to sell Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich denies wrongdoing and has ignored calls to resign.

Blagojevich's announcement left observers asking - whether the governor was playing a game of racial "chicken," daring Senate Democrats to snub a respected African-American.

Conservative radio host Larry Elder said race was clearly a part of Blagojevich's plan.

"What he has done is this: He's chosen a black person and dared the Democratic Senate not to seat him because there would then be no black senators in the Senate whatsoever.

"I'm not saying that the former attorney general isn't a man of integrity and wouldn't otherwise, in his own right, be able to serve competently as a senator.

"But you don't have to be a cynic to understand that race was part of Blagojevich was doing right here," he said.

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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Greg, NH

    Texas teacher has not commented as yet. She has no job but to criticise Republicans and independents. She has been paid by Obama Campaign. She cannot wait to see Barack in the white house and then Barack may invite here there.

    December 31, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Reality Bites!

    Uuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm …Maybe !!!

    December 31, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. yellow dog democrat

    so sad to play these political games at so much cost to others! – leaving as alwyas doubts and mistrust – not a good start is it?

    December 31, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. 60 year old blue collar American





    December 31, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. a southern bell




    December 31, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. balute

    What troubles me are two prominent african-american men that would let themselves be used as pawns. This is demeaning and shows Blagojevich's does not respect the Black community but see it as another one of his to use for his own gain. The African American community in Chicago should be in an uproar over this where clearly they will be once again marginalized.

    Barack has handled this wonderfully and has shown thru his tiredless efforts to have America see itself as America and not undertake race as a measurable merit.


    December 31, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. clifford

    Atta boy Rod keep up the good work!! Nobody likes to play the race card more than the bla.cks who are bit.chin about this appointment!! Love it!!

    December 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. clifford

    Oh yes we can!! I want change I tell ya I want change!! You jerks!!

    December 31, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Mike

    Gov'nr Bag'O was caught in the act,
    For peddling the seat of Barrack,
    Now he's acting quite scurilous,
    by naming Mr. Burris,
    when he knows the senate won't give him a crack.

    December 31, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. 2sense

    Of course it's a game of racial chicken and Burris is likely to be seated. The Secratary of State can't refuse to certify Burris based on the sins of the Guv. Nor can the Senate refuse to seat him based on his qualifications. If they refuse to seat him Caroline Kennedy should not have a chance. BJ js a lot smarter than he looks. He has boxed in the Senate Dems in much the same way Bush 41 did when he nominated Thomas to the Supreme Court,

    December 31, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. BB

    He's sociopathic – what do you think?

    December 31, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. David Newport, OR

    Chicken? No it is more along the lines of stupidity. Hey does it feel to be right next to the great state of Alaska? We are laughing at you. End it and remove the controversy. You want the rest of America to respect you? Why?

    December 31, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Mike in Oahu

    So the best person for the job of Senator of Illinois just happens to be another Black man? Thats' how it appears when we look at who is lobbying for the job (Mr. Burris, Mr. Jackson...).

    Illinois should be seating someone who best represents their State. And it is not Illinois' responsibility to bias their selection to meet a racial quota for the US Senate.

    Same goes for New York. Just because Hillary Clinton is a woman doesn't mean that her successor must be drawn from the same gender pool (i.e. Caroline Kennedy).

    How about moving up to the next level from overt race/gender consciousness to appointments based on credentials and merit alone.

    Maybe it would be best left to the voters to decide these key seats. Isn't that the real intention behind democracy anyway?

    December 31, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher

    Blago... is playing games Period! Sorry... anyone he appoints will be in question ... black, white, or green... Sad, but True.... there will always be the question of impropriety! This goes without saying.... sad for Burris.

    December 31, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  15. malabar

    everyone knows chicago is full of scumbag politicians, but who knew one would have the cajones blago does to throw their bull hypocricy right back in their faces? this is hilarious but not surprising at all

    December 31, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. crackerjack

    I think the gov and his lawyer are doing an amazing job. We don't know what they will accomplish before this is all over. It will be wonderful if someone can flush out the other bad guys.

    December 31, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. its the I don't want to go to jail game

    but hopefully if there is any relevancy to our system still intact, he will in fact go to jail

    I am not so sure about equally deserving Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rove, Rice and Gonzalos

    December 31, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. Funny!

    What goes around, comes around.

    After all, is there *anyone* who HASN'T played the race card this election cycle? Can't think of anyone, can you? It seems that Illinois is a prime spot for those race card users.

    I similarly dare the Democrats (and I'm one of them) to turn down a good candidate like Burris.

    December 31, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. jaye

    Governor Blojo is getting all the press he can out of this mess he created.... he's broke and he's going to jail and wants to go out in a blaze of glory. LOL

    December 31, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. jaye

    Blojo is going down, and taking innocent people with him.

    December 31, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. William

    Mr. Burris apparently didn't learn anything from the recent Presidential election. Why on earth he would accept a nomination from someone under such a cloud as Mr. Blagojecvich is beyond me. He makes himself look like a pawn and places his own integrity into question.

    December 31, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Anne C

    Blagojevich has more Crust than the Russian mountain seen from Sarah Pitiful's Back Door during the dead of winter in the Alaskan Tundra! They both need to go away now! They have no shame.

    December 31, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. Randolph

    If Governor Blagojevich had in his mind the goal to pick an African American because there isn't any black in the US Senate, he is 100% right. Although the US Senate represents all the US states, it would be appropriate to have women and all the minority groups to be represented as well.
    Has Governor Blagojevich played the race card? I am not really sure what do you mean. However, I know that a good political leader has to take some actions that would be supported by his/her people. For this case, he has gotten support of many Americans who believe that he has done the right thing.
    It is sad to see that our party leaders who don't oppose any resistance to anything from Republicans and support all their wrong doing are betraying a fellow Democrat leader who has not been convicted.
    If our party leaders have been cracking down credit card companies and their CEO's with such magnitude, Americans would be better off, and our economy would have been great.
    Frankly, the party needs young leaders like Bob Casey, Jr Claire Conner McCaskill, and others.

    December 31, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  24. tired of corporate politics

    Obama set the example. He ran primarily on race and mentioned it repeatedly in speeches. It worked.

    Now someone else from his old political neighborhood is doing it to. Why is this a surprise?

    December 31, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  25. California Gold

    This isn't a game of racial chicken. Gov. Blagojevich would like to trump up anything to put the spotlight on instead of himself. But the fact is this Governor has been arrested. He is out on bail. He will be indicted next week. Other politicians have denounced him. Then Burris decided to make a deal with the devil and together they make their announcement and claim anyone who doesn't embrace them is a racist. Blagojevich is political poison. Burris exchanged a lifetime of hard earned credibility, respect, and integrity by cutting a deal with Blagojevich. It is about corrupt politicians and one who is arrested and out on bail, and the public's rejection. If Burris were smart he would withdraw his acceptance and hope to restore any shred of dignity.

    December 31, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
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