The Plank

What Is Roland Burris Thinking?

I can see Blago's angle in his decision to appoint Roland Burris to Obama's Senate seat. At this point, Blago is basically Bullworth (without the moral compass), so he's got to figure: what do I have to lose? (If Wesley Willis were still alive, I bet Blago might have tried to appoint him, just for the "screw you" factor).

But what's Burris's angle? From what I know about Illinois politics (which, admittedly, isn't that much), he's an elder statesman of sorts--an ally of Jesse Jackson Sr but also a downstate native who was the first black politician to get elected to statewide office and who, from all reports, served admirably (and without scandal) as comptroller and attorney general. You can't imagine he's in cahoots with Blago on anything underhanded. Yes, Burris clearly had higher political ambitions than A.G.--he's unsuccessfully run for the U.S. Senate, Chicago mayor, and governor--but getting a tainted appointment doesn't seem like a very good way to realize those ambitions. And, at 71, is this really the way he wants to be remembered? 

--Jason Zengerle

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