About face on Burris


Illinois Governor

It has been several days now and I’ve had time to chill and collect my thoughts. During that time, I have come to realize that my opposition to the seating of Roland Burris as the Junior Senator from Illinois is a mistake and a histrionic reaction to Rod Blagojevich’s mischievous and Machiavellian appointment of a qualified African American.


There is no way in hell that accepting Blagojevich’s appointment was the rational act of a black politician concerned about fair black representation in the upper house. Instead, it was the juvenile and selfish maneuvering of a washed up politician who equates the legitimate desire of the African American community to be represented by at least one African American Senator with his appointment. They are not one and the same.

The man or woman chosen to replace the President Elect should have been academically, politically, and professionally the best our community could put forward. Burris fails on that score. He is relatively undistinguished but qualified and is definitely over the hill.


But what’s done is done and the President Elect and the Democratic Caucus need to deal rationally with the unsavory politics of this appointment without casting aspersions, as many, including me, have done.


This is a legally unassailable appointment. Period. Rod Blagojevich retained the legal authority to make this selection and he made it because the Illinois legislature declined to strip him of this authority. Given the time-frame he constitutionally has to decide whether he would sign or veto any piece of legislation, he probably would have been able to stall long enough to make the appointment anyway and we would still be here. Most reasonable folk understand that he had no moral authority, but the law doesn’t require that.


Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the dime on Blagojevich the other day. Reid actively maneuvered against any African American appointment. He opposed Jesse, Danny Davis, and Emil Jones. The fact of the matter is that no Senate Democratic leader has done any heavy lifting to benefit a black Senatorial candidate in a contested situation. Nobody has ever attempted to clear the field to benefit a brotha or sistah. Nobody has ever attempted to dry up a white candidate’s fundraising to help out a black senate candidate. It happens for whites all the time. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, actively sought to dry up Kweisi Mfume’s money to benefit Ben Cardin in 2006.


The Senate Majority Leader has never done anything to benefit a black Senate candidate before appointment or before a contested primary. It’s a damn shame I didn’t see that before, but I see it now. Despite Bobby Rush’s clumsy, cartoonish injection of race into the initial press conference—he happens to be right. He also happens to be the worst messenger of the truth because of his unwillingness to support Barack Obama for this seat in the first place.

Rikyrah, CPL, y’all are right, and I was wrong.

What is baffling to me though is why some of the same black people who advocate seating Burris don’t castigate Barack Obama for siding against qualified black representation.


33 thoughts on “About face on Burris

  1. imhotep

    Pay to play, isn’t that what politics (America) are all about, especially in Illinois? Don’t be fooled by Roland Burris, he’s bought and paid for, has been for years. So is Bobby Rush, hate to break it to you, I used to live in his district, matter of fact I used to live in the same building, the neighborhood is still as bad (or worse) as it was when i lived there 15 years ago. I voted for him the first time, ex Black Panther, of course I did. But I soon discovered, its the game that’s corrupt not the players. Once they get in, they fall right in line, with their hands out and their constituents pants down. Think about this for a moment…Burris took the job knowing full well the circumstances surrounding the position. Burris has never been about Black Folks, Burris IS Black, but that’s as far as his commitment to black folks go. Burris has paid, uh I mean donated thousand of dollars to Gov. Blag already. So the Gov. is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. The problem really is that Emanuel pulled the trigger on the Gov. too soon. So now you’ve got a cornered rat, and no exterminator. Where’s the indictment? Where’s the impeachment? This guy will use everything to keep his position. Blag will name names if they come for him, so there are those who will not press the situation for fear their name might come up. This situation is no different in any other state, NY is dealing with replacement senator too. You want some consideration, you better pay in advance, or promise a deal later. That’s how its done!
    From getting a senator seat to getting a record deal. Corruption is an integral part of american politics, american business period. Corruption is what has US in economic meltdown RIGHT NOW! That is what you are witnessing all over the country, no one’s hands are clean, not even Obama’s. He just has better soap than most.

    So you were right from jump street. Because a person is Black does not make them for Black folks. It just means maybe, just maybe, a brotha won’t rape me as hard as the other guy, when in many cases he’s doing more, with less concern about the repercussions cause it’s black on black. I’ve got my eye on Obama, I love the brotha but I am not naive to the game. He’s already promising things to republicans. When the republicans were in control did they concern themselves with what dems wanted? Ever? Now the Dem’s get in and the first things they are concerned about is they don’t want the republicans to get angry or what ever. Who gives a flying f@#k what they want, suck it up like we did. Quit catering to them. Reid and Pelosi are vagina’s when it comes to making a strong move, don’t apologize. Just f#@kin’ do something. But they all agree not to help Burris, well that’s something I guess!

  2. Maybe race has something to do with Reid’s reaction, maybe it doesn’t. But the fact of the matter is that if Burris had any sanity, he would run away from this appointment. He is, as you say, grasping at this straw because he is washed up. Blago is injecting race into his pathetic scheming by daring the Democrats not to seat a black Senator. This whole episode is a sideshow that Blago has intentionally created in order to take the spotlight off of his misdeeds. SB, don’t take the bait!

  3. Trip,

    Race was always injected into this. They underestimated Blago. They eliminated the Black folk from the list….come on.

    I’m totally of the belief this was all about Jesse Jackson, Jr. Don’t let them fool you…this wasn’t about JJJ being UNelectable. They were scared that he was ELECTABLE. As I wrote down below, JJJ has done some independent moves during his political career. Look at him policy-wise – he’s a strong Progressive. But, they had no problems, backing Dark Sith, whose entire family has been tied up in the Judicial System for THIEVERY.

    Sure Rush was the ‘ wrong’ person, but sometimes, the ‘ right’ person doesn’t say what needs to be said, and you gotta get it out however it gets out.

  4. PS- I’m fighting hard for Burris now, because then, he’d only be a placeholder for 2010. And it means that anyone folks wanted to give a leg up won’t get it, and they’ll all start out the gate in 2010 on equal footing.

  5. So we’ve established that lots of the folks who have been opining about Obama’s replacement are racist. I still say that doesn’t change the fact that Blago is, in a paradoxical sort of way, using Burris BECAUSE Burris is black. In any event, even if Burris were purple it simply doesn’t make sense for a sane person to accept the appointment under these circumstances. There is so much wrong with politics, but most of what’s wrong boils down to blind, rootless ambition, often in people of mediocre talent. Burris’ desire to be a US Senator, apparently under any circumstance, is a case study in what I call the “ambition sickness.” The fact that he is fighting so hard for this seat makes me lose respect for him. I know that Chicago politics are rife with this sort of weird maneuvering, but I’m sick and tired of this BS. I’m not supporting Burris. Personally, I find him disgraceful.

  6. Ro

    You don’t understand why you thought the way you did so how are you going to understand why some of the same black people who advocate seating Burris don’t castigate Barack Obama for siding against qualified black representation. STOP saying Bobby Rush injected race in this. Bobby Rush knows how those snakes think and will think. He don’t have to wait until someone like Lynn Sweet reveals it to him. You should learn how to have a discerning spirit as well. You’ve been living in the USA all this time and still don’t know white folk and politicians. Shame on you UnSkeptical Brother. Race is in this and in New York’s senate race. Just because they don’t say it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  7. Black representation at any cost?

    By hook or by crook, lets get “a brotha” in the Senate. It’s ridiculous…and it’s not going to do Blacks any good in the long run.

    The proper thing for Burris to do would have been to approach Pat Quinn and express his interest in the seat. Perhaps he would have been chosen…at a later time or at least he could have participated in a special election.

    This move just continues to erode the image of Blacks in this Country… and solidifies the perception of Blacks as whiners…wanting a handout….Blacks as just affirmative action picks, etc. It doesn’t help at all. I know… power trumps all else in the “Black Community”… moral standing, integrity, etc.. really don’t hold sway for Blacks. But how Blacks are perceived is only going to worsen as a result.

    Burris will be dead weight in the Senate… he will have no clout, will get very little respect from his colleagues, and won’t hold any major committee assignments. And when 2010 rolls around, he won’t get support. And with his history of losing every big Congressional race he has run in…. i’ll place my bets on another horse.

    Even Obama is against the appointment (I don’t think he’s against Burris per se… but against the appointment from Blago). It has been a while since I agreed with Obama on anything.

    Always go with your gut Skeptical Brotha…. (When I started blogging… I actually considered using your moniker….so we often think alike)….and your first gut reaction was that something wasn’t right about the Burris pick (Burris and – by extension – Black folks being used as pawns for Blago’s benefit).

    You were 100% right.

    Even if Reid caves (and he usually does because he has no balls and no backbone to speak of)…. your initial reaction was still on the money.

  8. grace

    I’m with Black Indepedent on this one. So, Skeptical Brotha, are you saying black representation at any cost — or not? Sounds like it to me. Would Alan Keyes be okay with you then? Burris’ selfishness disqualifies him for anything… and it may be why he is considered in Chicago a machine-man that can be passed around to fill any open slot, but who can’t win an election. Shameful.

  9. My gut instinct is that Burris should be seated based on the fact that this is ultimately, a legal appointment and that apparently he is clean of the previous alleged wrongdoing of the governor. My thinking is also influenced by the obscene double standard we are seeing here among Democratic leaders, Obama included, applied between a Kennedy in New York and a Jackson Jr. in Illinois.

    Think that over, people.

  10. zeitgeist9000

    Seat Burris! Let him serve a full term or two so that the citizens of Illinois may actually have consistent representation from this seat, instead of the turbulence of representation (Moseley-Braun, Fitzgerald, Obama) of the past few terms….

    Also, Blago has plenary power to appoint his babysitter if he wanted to.

    So what’s the problem here? He made a historic pick as far as Illinois state politics is concerned.

  11. Angry Independent,

    I have to co-sign just about everything you said. Accepting an appointment from Blagojevich is a delusional act. I don’t believe that Burris will accomplish anything, but the fact remains that the appointment is legally unassailable. The Senate has seated people before without “proper documentation–in fact, some of the same people opposed to any African American congressional representation during reconstruction. The first African American elected to the U.S. Senate was denied his seat in a racist process that stretched out for three years. Reading the history and the Congressional Debate challenging the appointment of Hiram Revels, the first African American to be seated in the Senate, changed my mind. The optics are not good and I cannot support his denial of the seat, even though I believe that accepting the appointment of Blagojevich makes him unworthy to represent the black community with any integrity.

  12. Ernesto,

    Exactly. It is a double-standard. I am still waiting to see what Jesse Jr did or didn’t do in trying to secure this appointment, but I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. His record in the House is progressive–more progressive than Bobby Rush, who never supported Barack Obama for this Senate seat when it mattered. He is inconsistent. If we had listened to his ass in 2004, Obama never would be president now.

  13. Ro

    Most of yall can’t stand your boss/mgr./supervisor, but if that person gives you a promotion you will definitely take it. Even if you know that that your boss have fired employees in the past who didn’t deserve to lose their job.

  14. Anon 1

    How is Roland Burris tainted by accepting a position from Blago? Is Barack Obama tainted by the conviction of Rezko? Barack Obama did the samething that Senator Stevens of Alaska did. He got cheap land from Rezko in exchange Rezko got kick backs for his slum apartment rentals. But yet Stevens is indicted for failing to document he got his house renovations for free and the Press gives Obama a free pass?

    Roland Burris has done nothing worng. I don’t even support Burris politics but the man has the constituion rights to be seated. Harry Reid would not have been satisfied with any appointment Blago made other than who Harry Reid wanted there.

    Sadly, The 111th Congress will be known as the Congress that got the largest majority in over 50 years from the first elected Black President and simultaneously refused to seat the only legally appointed Black Senator from the State of Illinois. Those are the facts. Either we have a constituion or we don’t. EIther Blago is the Governor or he isn’t. Or we to assume all the laws Blago signs are tainted?

    Harry Reid is on thin ground and I will enjoy watching him squirm. RoLand BUrris will be seated, it’s just a matter of when.

  15. Anon,

    Obama did the same thing as Stevens in Alaska? He got cheap land from Rezko? No…he didn’t buy anything from Rezko. You should check your facts.

  16. Trip,

    You are wrong. The President-Elect did buy land from Rezko. He bought – AT MARKET PRICES – a portion of the lot next door to his house so that, in the city, he could have a decent-sized yard.

    That is the President-Elect’s big real estate deal with Tony Rezko.

  17. TripLBee


    The issue with Resko and Obama is that Resko bought a parcel of land adjacent to the house the Obama’s wanted to buy. The owner was selling the parcel and the house together and would not split the sale. The Obama’s didn’t want the adjacent parcel, so Resko stepped in, bought it at asking price and the deal went through. That’s the crux of the controversy because there is the appearance that Resko helped the Obama’s seal the deal in order to receive some sort of favor from him. As Obama himself stated, it was a bone headed move. But it wasn’t illegal and in no way compares to what Stevens did in Alaska. As for the sliver of land the Obama’s subsequently bought from Resko in order to expand their yard by 10 feet, they paid $675,000 for it, which is well above what a similar sliver would have gone for in Kenwood.(For example, a whole frigging yard three blocks away on Blackstone sold for the same price a year after the Obama purchase.) There is no controversy there. My real objection was with Anon’s utterly ridiculous suggestion that Obama is as corrupt as Ted Stevens. No one with any knowledge of this supposed controversy would make such a ludicrous claim, unless they were an anchor for Fox News.

  18. Trip,

    I understood where you were coming from. I also knew that Anon was clowning, because anyone who could read KNEW that there was nothing wrong with a man buying a part of a lot so that he could have a bigger yard.

  19. Trip,

    take back NOTHING.

    Anon WAS clowning, but not in a positive way.


    Thanks for the post. I appreciated it.

    If they had done right and put Jesse Jr. in the seat, this drama wouldn’t be happening right now.

  20. Darryl

    Reading this indictment makes me wonder why politicians do such things ?

    Click to access 44441728.pdf

    And what is it about Chicago that makes these people want to come here for their trysts ? Marion Brooks from Channel 5 got caught up with the Atlanta mayor with some hanky panky in our fair city.

    As for Roland/Blago/Jesse Jr., the only good thing about this whole ordeal is that it will put a cap on Junior’s political future. Being a known federal snitch will not endear him to his House colleagues ( I would not talk to an informant). He is like HIV-AIDS now. Also, how could he work with the same government that taped his father’s former boss (MLK) ?

    The Jackson’s have always been for self, but when the going get tough they punk out.

    Notice there has been nothing on Tom Joyner show about Jr. being a rat, although we know that Tom and crew clowns on everyone ? A well placed phone call from the Rev. put a lid on that. Also, poor Allison Payne (the beautiful sista that does the news on Channel 9)is just now recovering from a stroke induced upon finding out that her so-called boyfriend, Johnathan Jackson (yes from the same family), fathered a baby by white woman AND got married to a different white woman. That is why Jesse helped her jump the waiting list and got treatment at the famed Mayo Clinic.

    The Jackson’s are bad news through and through

  21. Darryl,

    I did not know that about Allison Payne. She was so young to be having mini-strokes. Had no idea this was happening behind the scenes. Thanks for the 4-1-1.

  22. dmlawyer

    According to my sources, that is why rev. was late for Bernie Mac’s funeral services, he was at Johnathan’s wedding to “Heidi”

  23. Darryl

    Interesting how? Roland cooked his own goose.

    He is virtually a lame duck. Book it now, he will not be elected.

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