Governor Bill Richardson has possibly given Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris a minor boost, after he withdrew from consideration for Secretary of Commerce due to an investigation into a possible "pay to play" scheme involving a campaign donor. Senate Democrats have demanded that Blagojevich resign office because he has been arrested for allegedly attempting to profit from his authority to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. When he refused to resign, Democrats demanded that he decline from filling the Senate post. But Blagojevich surprised commentators and recently picked Burris, a veteran Democrat, to occupy the seat. This sent Democrats into a rage.
In response to the appointment, Harry Reid said that he would block Burris from sitting in the Senate -- even if he had to call upon armed officers to do so. Obama also released a statement condemning Blagojevich for picking the candidate. Democrats insist that Blagojevich's alleged behavior is so despicable that whether or not he committed a crime, he should lose his job. They also want to exclude Burris on the grounds that he is caught up in the "taint" of Blagojevich's scandal.
Apparently, Democrats failed to conduct a thorough "conflicts check" to determine whether their hard line against Blagojevich could ultimately backfire and harm other Democrats. Richardson has become the first casualty of their gross error in judgment.
Media accounts of Richardson's withdrawal from the Cabinet-selection process indicate that Obama has known about the investigation of a possible "pay for play" scheme, but elected to nominate Richardson for the Commerce slot. But when the situation with Blagojevich became heated, Obama's aides pressed for Richardson's withdrawal.
Obama continued to praise Richardson even as he announced his withdrawal. Although Richardson has dropped out of the upcoming confirmations process, he has not resigned from governor despite the investigation. The case against Blagojevich, however, has not even progressed to the grand jury stage. Certainly, this fact will not go unnoticed by Blagojevich, Burris and people who are either sympathetic to the governor or who feel uncomfortable rushing to judgment in the absence of any factual information. If Richardson can remain governor and receive praise and respect, Blagojevich might argue that he should as well.
Related Readings on Dissenting Justice:
Patrick Buchanan Shows Greater Commitment to Liberal Values Than Senate Democrats, Defends Roland Burris
So When Exactly Does "Change" Arrive? Senate Battle Over Burris and Blagojevich Offers "More of the Same"!
Some Media Outlets Begin "Palinizing" Roland Burris
Defiant Blagojevich Names Obama's Successor: Decision Raises Political and Constitutional Questions
Like It or Not, Democracy Prevails: Illinois Supreme Court Refuses to Declare Blagojevich Unfit to Serve
Blago Impeachment: What Would Lincoln Do?
Playing or Paying Politics: Blagojevich, Political DealMaking, and the Difficulty of Drawing Lines
Pick Me! Caroline Kennedy Officially on the Job Market
Do Nepotism, Wealth and Dynastic Power "Taint" Kennedy's Likely Senate Appointment? Taking Reid's Arguments Where He Wouldn't Want Them to Go