But Blagojevich felt pressured to appoint a black person to Barack Obama's seat. It's one thing when only white candidates win those statewide elections, quite another for a Governor with the appointment power to pass over all the most prominent black politicians in his party.
The structural problem is obvious. Congressional districts are drawn to increase the power of black voters, with majority minority districts, and then the district is won by a black politician who designs his policies to appeal most strongly to these voters. In 2001, the radical Bobby Rush trounced Barack Obama in a congressional primary race:
Mr. Rush won the primary with 61.02 percent of the vote; Mr. Obama had just over 30 percent. Mr. Obama was favored by whites but lost among blacks, Mr. Lester said. Looking back, some say the magnitude of the loss reflected Mr. Obama’s failure to connect with black, working-class voters. Mr. Mikva said, “It indicated that he had not made his mark in the African-American community and didn’t particularly have a style that resonated there.”Obama — the black politician who is atypically popular with white voters — was able to move directly to the Senate, bypassing the House. But the House has plenty of black representatives who, despite their accomplishments, can't move up to the Senate — at least not without a boost from a Governor with an empty seat to fill. And that Governor is pressured by his party not to put the black congresssman in the slot because he'll be too easy to defeat in the next statewide election. Ironically, what was supposed to increase the number of blacks in Congress works to keep them in the House.
I'm beginning to feel that Jackson was ripped off. Wasn't he the natural choice for the seat?
Meanwhile, over at the Chicago-Sun Times, Roland Burris said "We are the senator."
"There is no confrontation here, there is no antagonism here," Burris said in a phone interview from Chicago. "And so we are proceeding very diplomatically, and we are proceeding with all concern about not creating any type of circus that will entertain the media."A circus? Will there be clowns???