Showing he’s still really good at thinking things all the way through, Blago has picked Roland Burris no doubt in part because he thinks Senate Democrats would have a tough time refusing to seat a man who would be the Senate’s only African-American member. He’s right to think they wouldn’t be thrilled about it. But they’re even less thrilled about lending any legitimacy to Blago himself or accepting a replacement for Obama who would have an uphill battle retaining the seat in 2010.
Although Burris was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois as the state’s comptroller, he has struggled in campaigns as well, losing races for governor, U.S. Senate, and mayor of Chicago. Even Blago has expressed concerns about Burris’ electability. In a 2002 radio interview on V-103’s Cliff Kelley Show, after Blagojevich defeated Burris in a primary contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Blago said that the color of Burris’ skin “hurt him” at the polls.
It’s a quirky strategy, appointing a candidate you don’t think can win. But I’m sure it will turn out just as well as Blago’s other creative efforts.