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Blago Raises the Stakes


On the eve of the New Year, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, charged with conspiring to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama, put the ball back squarely in the court of a Democratic Party that had disowned him.

Blago named Roland Burris, former attorney general of Illinois and first African-American ever to win statewide office, to fill the vacated seat. National Democrats and their media auxiliaries went berserk.

This governor, thundered The New York Times, "has taken his hubris to new heights and the misery of Illinois citizens to new lows."

This appointment "will not stand," raged Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If the distinguished 71-year-old lawyer arrives to take his seat, Reid threatened, the Senate will slam the door in his face.

But who is truly showing hubris here? And under what authority and with what justification would Reid deny Burris his seat?

There is not the slightest hint Burris did anything unethical or illegal to win this appointment. Nor is there any doubt as to Gov. Blagojevich's right to make the appointment. He is still governor of Illinois. He has not been convicted of anything. And he not only has the right but an obligation to carry out his duties, one of which is to appoint candidates to fill empty seats in the U.S. Senate.

As for Burris, his qualifications are surely superior to those of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, whom Democrats have been pounding New York Gov. David Paterson to appoint to Hillary Clinton's seat.

Before now, Kennedy has shown zero interest in public office or a public life. She has been lax in voting and shown nothing in the way of political substance since being hailed as the next senator.

Who is to say Paterson's motives in considering Kennedy are superior to Blagojevich's motives in naming Burris?

Blagojevich must not appoint anyone, we are told, because he is charged with conspiring to sell Barack's seat, and the evidence is on the wiretap tapes cited by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

But here in America, even a governor is innocent until proven guilty. And what exactly do those tapes show, other than that Blago and his chief of staff engaged in crude and corrupt talk about getting rewarded with campaign contributions or high office for Blago in return for giving someone the Senate appointment?

Using vile language and ruminating on selling a Senate seat may be sins, but they are not necessarily crimes.

Moreover, there is evidence Blago may have been engaged in boastful beer talk and little more.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. says he talked to the governor for 90 minutes about the Senate seat but was never solicited. Nor did he offer anything. Obama aides Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett both talked to Blagojevich about the seat, and Rahm talked to his chief of staff.

Neither claims to have been solicited for any kind of bribe.

Yet, if Blago were going to sell the seat, the obvious party to sell it to is the man with the power to appoint ambassadors and Cabinet officers, or to convince others to hire Blago: President-elect Obama.

Yet, from all we know, nether Barack nor anyone on his staff ever offered anything illicit to the governor, nor were they asked for anything. Where is the body of the crime?

If Blago and Burris hold firm, this is going to get interesting.

Here we have an African-American elder statesman of the Democratic Party, an honorable and distinguished man, appointed by the governor according to law and the Constitution, to fill a Senate seat. There has been no hint of illegal consideration asked or given by either the governor or Burris.

Yet Harry Reid, who presides over a Democratic caucus of some 60 senators, with not a single black member, is going to refuse this black man a seat to which the law entitles him?

One hopes Burris will stay firm and march up to that Senate, and, if nothing else, expose the hypocrisy.

Our president-elect is from a party that champions busing to integrate public schools but bypasses D.C. public schools to send his girls to exclusive private schools in far northwest Washington.

We have a Democratic Senate that champions affirmative action. Yet not one white male Democratic senator, in a caucus that has not a single black member, has ever volunteered to step down and let the governor of their state replace him or her with an African-American.

Not one. That would be liberals leading by example, not exhortation.

If Democrats believe our institutions of power should look like America, why don't they make their Senate caucus look like America? Why do not a dozen Democrat senators resign, to be replaced by 12 appointed black Democrats, giving one-fifth of all Democratic Senate seats to a minority that gave Barack 97 percent of its vote and Barack and Joe Biden one-fourth of all the votes they received?

Why does not Gov. Paterson follow Gov. Blagojevich's lead and name an African-American of Burris' stature to the U.S. Senate?

Fellas, let's start practicing what we preach here.

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



3 Comments | Post Comment
...lead by

Apparently, Mr. Buchanan had a brain fart and forgot he was talking about politicians. Leading by example would mean putting the country's interests first, and Lord knows our pols can't be doing that. I believe Reid, McConnell and ilk would rather burn the people's house down before giving it back to it's rightful owners (even though we the people don't always deserve it).
Comment: #1
Posted by: Kathy Keck
Fri Jan 2, 2009 4:36 AM
If anyone is a puzzle it's Fitzpatrick???? Never seen anything like this . He leads his mouse to the trap and before he takes the bait ; caught ya. Blago believes he has done nothing wrong because according to Chicago pols he hasn't because their politics is still back in the 30's. Why hasn't anyone brought up the fact the annointed-one told Patterson CK would make a good senator. Hey if they want a caretaker-senator with name a famhe'sous name how about Chelsea Clinton. She's just as qualified as or more so than Caroline. The One thinks she qualified because he also has the same qualifications.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Marian
Fri Jan 2, 2009 5:12 AM
Dear Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan
With utmost pleasure I have received from my dear old friend Mr. Robert Carter, US citizen, living in Houston, your published article “the Party is over”
My name is Manfred H. Hermann, German citizen, and living for over 25 years in different countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, and U.A.E.
Of course I have been visiting your country for many times, too.
However, presently or better to say finally for the last 17 years I am living in Moscow, Russia.
I totally agree with you that the people should be on the elevated platform of judgment. The fact that US citizens once more are degraded to the level of a spectator should make the US - Americans start to think and consequently react.
Nothing in live is for free, one always has to pay a price – may it be cash, health, freedom or integrity.
In such days, where citizens have to spend their daily live in tent – villages like refugees, phrases such as:
- In every crisis there is a new chance for the future -
are used frequently.
Such phrases are being used from officials and public persons to distract from facts and sweep true responsibilities under a big heavy carpet, hoping that somebody else will fix the problem or at least take the responsibility for it. (Dug and cover)
Ever since 3000 B.C. entire civilizations and so called Superpowers as the ancient Egyptians, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the Han Dynasty, Inkas, Spain, Napoleon, Portugal, Tsar Nikolaus II, the British Empire, the KuK Monarchy, Emperor William II, Adolf Hitler, GDR the USSR and many more have been wiped out for the same reasons:
Greed of rulers for wealth and power
Ignorance of rulers for the needs of the own population
Fear and ignorance of the population towards the rulers
The loss of values
How can a nation believe that there is no conflict off interests and the independence of decisions is secured, if the presidential election campaign is costing millions of dollars, sponsored by multinational companies and lobbies? If it is acceptable to the American public that big money can buy the key to the Oval Office than the American public should not be surprised that obligations have to be met.
The New York Times wrote on July 18th. 2004 that the entire American press has not been critical enough how the Bush administration reasoned the war in Iraq. It was known by than, that Iraq had no biological or nuclear weapons, which was given as the reason for invading Iraq. Yet the American public has re-elected the Mr. Bush for Presidency. Who will take responsibility for:
USD 3 trillion total cost so far
30634 wounded American soldiers
4521 killed Coalition Soldiers, 4207 of which are American soldiers
8760 killed Iraqi Soldiers and Police-forces
1001 killed Members of private Security and Military companies (i.e. Blackwater Worldwide)
As per ORB (Opinion Research Business) between 946,000 and 1,120,000 Iraqi have been killed between March 03 and August 07
This war is not an isolated incident but a consequence of lacking values and some weird self understanding. This war is a second Vietnam which in a similar way and manner has been swept away and covered. Until today the USA has not had the decency to give any aid to the many victims they have caused for no good reason what so ever other than self-righteous bigoted ideology.
In 1963 the world was on the edge of the 3 world war and the first atomic war when the USSR placed missiles in the front garden of the USA.
Today the American public accepts without any criticism that the USA is placing Missiles in the front garden of Russia.
One gets to ask what kind of nation is it, that wants to be a superpower but refuses to sign the Rome Statutes. On May 6th, 2002, the U.S. formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. does not intend to become a party to the Rome statute. This way Mr. Bush avoided to stand accused by the ICC of being a war criminal. Furthermore it is clear evidence that the Bush administration has planned their Invasion well in advance under any circumstances and how they want to conduct this issue.
A nation which accepts that international law and human rights are ignored as it is done until today in Guantanamo Bay has forfeit the claim of being a super power.
A nation that stages a war like a Hollywood science fiction film has lost its sense for respectability.
A nation that accepts death sentences should not pray for god to save America.
A nation that treats 8 Year old children in the same manner than adult criminals have lost the sense for humanity.
A nation that accepts boot-camps for children have lost any sense for any respect for live.
How can such a nation claim to be a world leader if this nation does not even treat their own children with respect?
A nation which needs to wear weapons in their every days live are scared of their community.
A nation that does not take care of those in need is no more than a crowd of individuals without any common interests that ought not try to bully other nations to the same system.
The one who places shareholder value above everything else justifies the exploitation of every working man and woman.
A nation where the only value is money is lost.
Certainly all of that is known by the American folks. The world of today needs a strong USA but based on solid ethic principals to keep other countries from adopting even more and most of all, to keep a balance.
When nowadays citizens from around the world are blaming their governments for not doing any better we should never forget, that any Nation around the world always gets the government it deserves.
Let's hope for the better - be it in USA, Russia, China or any European country.
Exciting and boring events which we where facing during the last year with extremely outstanding and different circumstances, followed with emotions, successful moments, hope, love, hate, give and take, loosing and winning.
Disregarding those circumstances and special moments, we shall always remember that time is the only value we don't have unlimited.
No matter whatever will be in 2009, let's simply face it.
We shall and will always find reason for celebrating the most valuables……
……….Health, happiness, love, family, friends, luck and joy.
I am whishing you and your family a HAPPY NEW YEAR
and remain with kind regards from Moscow
Manfred Hermann
Comment: #3
Posted by: Manfred H. Hermann
Mon Jan 5, 2009 2:22 PM
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