31 Dec 2008

Don’t Underestimate Blagojevich

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The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass advises. Playing the race card was a brilliant stroke which instantly put the national democrat party on the defensive.

Since he was federally charged with trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been wrongly caricatured as some kind of hapless jester prancing on the edge of madness.

Jesters hold rattles with a likeness of their heads on the end of a stick, and they hop off into a corner, prattling to themselves. That’s what jesters do.

Jesters don’t pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Democrat in the U.S. Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging.

Yet that’s what Blagojevich—aided by former Black Panther-turned-Daley-machine-functionary Bobby Rush—did at that stupendous news conference in Chicago on Tuesday. That’s when the governor appointed Democratic empty suit Roland Burris, an African-American, to fill the Senate seat vacated by Obama.

“Please don’t allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man,” said Blagojevich.

It was a brazen move, and a smart one, and though the race card was ugly, there was no passion in it. There was no lunacy involved.

“This is not about Roland, this is about Rod,” said savvy political consultant Thom Serafin when I called him while watching the circus of the politically bizarre. Serafin correctly predicted weeks ago that it would be Burris, shortly after Blagojevich was arrested and most other Senate hopefuls pulled out lest they be infected by the governor’s dilemma.

“This is Rod telling the political class that he’s still active, that he’s still around, that he’s still the governor,” Serafin said. “And how do they deny Roland Burris? They can’t.”

Read the whole thing.

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