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Question of the day *** UPDATED x1 ***

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008

* Speaking and staying at the Union League Club has its advantages. A press conference by some Illinois Repubicans was held at the club yesterday, so I went, and was interviewed by ABC 7 about the “Rod & Todd” impact on the upcoming election. WBBM Radio was at the Paul Green/Rich Miller panel discussion earlier in the morning and filed this report

A veteran observer of Illinois politics, Rich Miller, the editor and publisher of Capitol Fax, shared some of his thoughts on the upcoming election with members of the Union League Club of Chicago.

Miller believes the “Obama factor” will help Democrats in races throughout Illinois, but believes any bump from Obama could be weighed down by the “Rod Factor,” referring to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. […]

As for who Gov. Blagojevich would pick to replace Obama as Illinois U.S. Senator, if Obama becomes president, Miller won’t even venture a guess. He believes it will be whoever Blagojevich thinks can help him the most. But Miller says the governor is too unpredictable for him to know who that may be.

* The Question: Considering all factors, which replacement choice (assuming, of course, that Obama wins) would help Blagojevich the most? Explain.

Please, keep in mind that this is not about who the governor will or should pick. We’ve already discussed those points. Try to stay on topic. Thanks.

…Adding… The “help him the most line” was made by Paul Green, and I agreed with it. Credit where credit is due.

*** UPDATE *** Patterson asked Lucio Guerrero if the governor was having any discussions about the replacement. Guerrero responded via e-mail

“We have decided to make it an American Idol style competition. We are going to give the candidates a few days at the spot and then the voters will call-in to pick their favorites. Rich Miller will play the part of Simon, Catie Sheehan can be Paula Abdul and you can be Randy Jackson. Does that work?”

Works for me.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:43 am:

    Appointing a black would help him the most, as would appointing Lisa Madigan (gets her out of Springfield) but she won’t take it.

  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    ===Appointing a black would help him the most===

    You wanna explain that please?

  3. - phocion - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:51 am:

    With due respect to RR and Laura Washington, appointing an African American would not be Rod’s best move. As Hillary and Bill Clinton discovered, the African American voting block can be, shall we say, fickle. Appointing an AA to the Senate seat would not guarantee black support for Rod if Rod faced a quality AA opponent in 2010. But, Rich’s question is who would help the most, and to that I would venture Tammy Duckworth. It would be popular with women, the disabled, Asians, and veterans. She is well respected and has escaped the stench of his administration. The media would eat it up, too. Plus, I don’t think the US has ever had a Senator named “Tammy.”

  4. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:51 am:

    I think he needs to defer to Obama’s choice - after all he is going to need a Presidential pardon if he does not want to face hard time.

  5. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:54 am:

    The choice that helps him the most is in fact, himself.

    It frees up almost all of the friends of Rod money for legal defense. Gets him out of town and the chance to propose big ideas without having to figure out how to implement them.

    If he is charged with something it would be easier to stay in power (see Ted Stevens) than what would happen if it happens while he is sitting governor.

    Also he can do it in a way that makes him look like the good guy.

    I am stepping down to become our US Senator so things can move forward in Illinois, I have loved being your governor and wanted to continue. However because of Mike Madigan I can not continue.

    It is really the only way he can ever hope to rehabilitate his image. Spend some time in Washington, come back and talk a big game. Who would challenge him in a Senate Primary? He would have a big step up in name recon and that would help under federal fundraising rules.

  6. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:56 am:

    In all honesty, I don’t think anyone really helps him, whether it’s for governing (which I don’t think he’s all that terribly interested in ) or for re-election (which I think is a pipe dream because of his unpopularity and trouble with the feds).

    I think it’s quite possible that some of the more prominent names who want the seat will turn down an appointment by Blago to avoid being connected with him. They can then run in the 2010 primary against “Rod’s senator.”

  7. - MD - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:58 am:

    Jesse White. That way Rod would have 2 appoinments and he could appointment Jay Hoffman to the SOS spot. Jay deserves it for being unconditionally loyal to Rod and it would be a great way for Jesse to “top” off his career.

  8. - walter sobchak - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    Duh, Patrick Fitzgerald, of course.

  9. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    Sure, Rich Miller. Black voters have been his strongest source of support. Obama is black and has already stated his preference that a black politician succeed him. Blago wants to stay on Obama’s good side.

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===Obama is black and has already stated his preference that a black politician succeed him===

    Nope. Sneed has reported it (endlessly, and without attribution), but I don’t ever recall Obama saying it. You got a link to a direct quote?

  11. - Tired too! - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:04 pm:

    Rich - sorry for going off topic - but remind us of the timeframe if you would (on the appointment)

  12. - Heartless Libertarian - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:06 pm:

    Agree with Oneman fully. Himself. He will succeed Obama and bring the reform and renewal to Washington that he brought as a congressman and governor….

  13. - GoBearsss - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:10 pm:

    best choice - Oprah.

    Seriously. She can self-finance. She is black, which would appease the Sneed readers. And she is a close friend of Obama’s. Not to mention her strong social justice background. She has often said she doesn’t want to enter politics. But this could be her shot.

    If she declines, then I would say Sheila Nix.

    She is a natural leader, knows the Senate, and is well familiar with what it will take to get the Obama healthcare plan passed in D.C. She also knows how to get thing done for people ™.

  14. - nickname/anon - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:16 pm:

    Whoever is in line to be Senate President, and then whoever is second in line owes their Presidency to the Governor.

  15. - archpundit - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:17 pm:

    The best choice is someone who can bring along a block of votes. The problem is most of the people who can do that hate him. Madigan, Daley, and Jackson all have problems with them though clearly Jackson thinks he can force it anyway, but my take would be that Blagojevich doesn’t trust Jackson to then work for him in 2010. Rich or others can tell me if I’m wrong there.

    So that leaves harder groups to organize or money. Schakowsky has strong ties with progressive liberals and so she might fit the bill as someone who can deliver votes for him–or someone he thinks can deliver votes for him. Then there are big funders who always wanted to play Senator.

    If I were advising him…well first I’d tell him to give it up. But say we get beyond that delusion, I’d have to go with Schakowsky because of the potential appointees she is the most likely to sway some voters towards him.

    The problem with the Jesse White idea is two fold. First Jesse has said he won’t take it. Second, how does it help Rod? Some amorphous feel good feelings from the black community doesn’t mean he gets reelection support.

  16. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:19 pm:

    I don’t know if he has to replace him with a Black. it is not like IL is losing anything if this happens. A Black president is more impressive than a black senator. It is not like he died or fell ill, he would have been promoted.

    Appointing himself would help him as he’d leave the mess he helped (along with Madigan, Jones and the dems) create in springfield. No need to worry about impeachment, etc, He will not win re-election for Gov, so just start over. He’d only have Fitz at his heels.

    Alan Keyes is black! He may actually win an elected office

  17. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:22 pm:

    Well, first you have to decide what it is he is trying to help. Are you asking about help getting reelected in 2 years or help preventing impeachment in 2 months, or help preventing indictment, or just help with his abysmal popularity?

  18. - chic ster - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:23 pm:

    I think Blago is so far gone that an appointment won’t’ win him favor with any particular group. I agree with Wordslinger that some might turn down the chance to move to the US Senate because of the association with Rod. I think, statistically, most appointed Senators tend to lose in following election cycle. If this is correct, it might be a better fit for Jesse White or even Emil Jones versus an up and comer.

  19. - Policy In Action - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    ==”You wanna explain that please?”==

    I wasn’t the author of the original comment, but I will take a stab at it…

    Blago appointing an African-American doesn’t give him automatic support from the Black community.

    But Obama is the only African American in the Senate. The Black community will not want to lose that seat. Therefore, while the appointment of an African American won’t gain him support, the appointment of a White person could cause the Black community to actively oppose Blago.

    Let’s put it this way: If he appoints an African American, he doesn’t gain or lose support. But if he appoints a white person, there will UNDOUBTEDLY be grumblings in the Black community over losing the seat, and they WILL harbor resentment towards Blago.

    ==”In all honesty, I don’t think anyone really helps him, whether it’s for governing (which I don’t think he’s all that terribly interested in ) or for re-election”==

    I think that’s the best statement yet.

  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:36 pm:

    “Which Blagojevich pick would help him the most?”

    Politically, Blagojevich is a Dead Man Walking, according to the poll numbers.

    I don’t know anyone who’s ever come back from 15% job approval ratings to win a contested primary, let alone re-election.

    If I’m wrong, I hope someone will correct me.

    Because of the public’s cynicism toward the governor, ANYONE picked will be viewed as a crass political move. And ANYONE picked by the governor will be tainted by their association with him.

    Given that, Blagojevich’s smartest move may be to pick someone who agrees not to seek re-election, setting up an openly contested Senate Primary in 2010, at the same time as his. Creating a divided battle there could draw resources away from his primary challengers.

    Alternately, he could say he’ll rely on Obama for recommendations, arguing that we need a U.S. Senator who will work closely and well with the new president. The Obama Seal of Approval would insulate his choice from criticism. Making a choice based “on the merits” instead of “on the politics” might give Rod a chance to redefine himself, and being seen as working with Obama might be the one miracle that can help his poll numbers.

  21. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    If I can’t get appointed myself I would second GoBearsss recommendation of Sheila Nix. She has DC experience, is an excellent lawyer and has always had the best interests if Illinois at heart.

  22. - Gregor - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    >>”Some amorphous feel good feelings from the black community doesn’t mean he gets reelection support.”

  23. - Rich O - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    chic ster hits a key point- that no one can actually help him. That said, the hope that someone can deliver voters to him is all he has.

    I’ve figured he goes with JJJ or a Latino option in hopes of morphing the non-white candidate in an all white primary battle. But Arch makes a good case for Shakowsky as a play for liberal votes.

    OneMan makes the first plausible case for a self appointment I’ve seen.

    But nothing can actually get him voters. His best hope is to bait everyone and their mother into running against him so his meager support is enough to survive. That shouldn’t be too hard with everyone wanting him gone.

  24. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    I don’t see how any pick helps him. The grateful person is no longer in Illinois, and it’s hard to imagine how anything he did would impress voters to the point where they would forgive him for his trespasses (real or imagined).

    If anything, whoever he picks will hurt him. The pick will be viewed cynically no matter who it is. It will be seen as rewarding a supporter or sending an opponent away.

    The smartest move for the Gov would be to let Obama pick his successor and for Rod to make it clear that the choice was Obama’s.

  25. - Captain America - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:44 pm:

    It’s a lose-lose situation for Governor Pinocchio. Absolutely nothing he can do or anyone who he might appoint, would could help redeem him in the eyes of political insiders or the general public. Politically speaking, Pinocchio is a “dead man walking!”

    ON the other hand, maybe Pinocchio shouuld appoint his legal nemesis, Patrick Fitzgerald, to get him off the Governor’s case. Many politicians and their cronies would heave a sigh of relief. They might be willing to contribute to Blago’s legal defense fund as a result of this innovative legal strategy.

  26. - Gregor - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:45 pm:

    Messed up my quote from above… anyway, that IS Rod’s strategy, always has been, pandering to urban black and latino constituents with free healthcare and anti-tax pledges and other give-aways. But according to the polls, it didn’t do much good.

    The strategic choice is Jesse: puts a dem in SOS as an incumbent which is the stronger way to fight and keep the office dem. Puts jesse out of the running as possible spoiler or contender in a gubernatorial primary as well. Jesse is liked across all lines and would comport himself well for a short stint in DC.

    But I think what Rod will do is send Emil, as more payback and to have a friend in DC besides Wyma.

  27. - publius - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:45 pm:

    will obama win? it’s pretty to think so—-but many polls show it still tight—and analysis out of nevada shows young, first-time, and minority voters are not turning out as well as predicted/hoped—plus knock on some doors in the battlground states and you discover deeply held racist views—i fear it will be days before we know who wins—and it may not be who most of us illinoisans are voting for.too early to face the appointment question.

  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:48 pm:

    I think it’s important to remember in regards to Chicago and Cook County, there is not necessarily a black appointment consensus pick.

    JJJ has been fighting with the Powers that Be on the South Side for years — first the Shaws, now Beavers and Stroger. He’s clearly building a personal power base.

    Pick from one side, you might anger the other.

  29. - EmptySuitParade - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 12:57 pm:

    Let’s remember the best replacement will be Hollywood Hendon. He will stir so much )*)^)(^( in DC that Blagoof will be forgotten.
    Let’s also remember StateWideTom’s lame radio ad was paid for in part by SpeakerDenny who is one of Blagoof’s biggest enablers.

  30. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===and analysis out of nevada shows young, first-time, and minority voters are not turning out as well as predicted/hoped====

    From John Ralston, the equiv or better of Rich Miller in Nevada…

    ===In the urban counties, which represents about 85 percent of the vote, the Democrats could well have close to a 100,000-voter lead over the GOP by the close of early voting Friday. Unless the independents (16 percent in turnout so far) are overwhelmingly going for John McCain, which seems unlikely, Barack Obama has a chance to win Clark and Washoe by enough votes to win the state, unless the GOP Election Day turnout so overwhelms the Ds as to make up the difference — an almost impossible task.===

    via Ambinder

  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:00 pm:

    In other words, get back to the question, please.


  32. - Touchdown Rejus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:02 pm:

    Here is what is going to happen

    Rod is to going to try to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald with a big blessing and push from Obama.

    If Fitzgerald declines, Obama will remove him as US Attorney as soon as possible, and Obama will take the small PR hit, because right now the national press will gloss over it in the honeymoon period of his admin. The PR hit is small compared to leaving Fitz in place and him further leveraging Rezko to spill on all the inner workings that are going on in our fair state. Obama, Daley, and Blago need to stop Fitz before he goes any deeper and starts publicaly hitting bone. These guys are in unprecidented territory. Lastly they don’t want the national focus on the goings on in Illinois in a couple of years once Obama starts screwing up and it becomes profitable to start paying attention to this stuff. Whitewater is down right provincial to the inner workings of the Chicago machine.

    If Obama is successful in this, a deal will be set so that Obama will pardon Tony Rezko in Jan’13 in return for keeping his mouth shut and doing his time. Omerta. Rezko’s choices are he can testify for Fitz and burn the combine, or he can keep his mouth shut, and President Obama will ride to the resucue and take care of him 4 years from Dec 1. If you were Tony and Barak which would you choose?

  33. - ivoted4judy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    Obama will be the pick because when we wake up early Wed. morning, JOHN McCAIN will be the next President in a squeaker!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I am wrong, no pick will help this Governor. He is the curse of death to any other political figure. Name me ONE democrat running today who is embracing this guy? Not even is loyal bud Jay Hoffman in showing G Rod in his literature.

  34. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    6 choices:
    Tony Rezko - [we’ll have proof that Gov B dropped his basket]
    Patrick Fitzgerald - Gov B will think that the good turn will be repaid in kind
    Rich Miller - should put the lid on Cap Fax and take some heat off
    Jesse Jackson Jr - hoping he can help
    Dick Mell - hoping he will keep his mouth shut
    Patti Blagojevich - why not? As qualified as anyone else there

  35. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:07 pm:

    Touchdown rejus, you are either a genius or an idiot

  36. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    I don’t think any appointment helps him politically at this point. He’s toast. So that leaves what helps him with his fed problems? I agree with Oneman above about appointing himself except I don’t think he has enough money in the bank at this time. If he becomes Senator then he is probably done raising any contributions at the state level. If it wasn’t for that I think he would for sure self appoint.
    If he is going to stay around and attempt to raise funds for his legal defense then I agree with nickname/anon. Appointing someone like Clayborne gives the seat to a black and leaves the seat to ?? Cullerton might think he has it locked up already so why cut a deal with consequences that you have to live with. The others might be more inclined to jump at it.
    And looking at how he has taken so long to appoint people in the past, he might never pull the trigger.

  37. - Touchdown Rejus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    To quote the boys from Freakanomics. Its all just a game of incentives as to who does what.

  38. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:10 pm:

    Rejus, you’re probably joking, but we’ve heard this idea that Obama will remove Fitz too many times. He’s raised $600 million, run to the point of exhaustion for two years and will risk everything on such a bonehead move?

    There would be no honeymoon period if a Pres. Obama removed Fitz. It would cripple his administration from the start. Why should he care if the folks Fitz is after go down? He’ll have bigger fish to fry.

    I’m constantly amazed by those who think a Pres. Obama is going to be pre-occupied by Illinois politics. Not going to happen.

  39. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:11 pm:

    TR, check your meds, please.

  40. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:14 pm:

    I’d go with idiot right up there with Captain A…I mean America.

  41. - MOON - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:15 pm:


    The reasons are obvious!!!!!!!!!!

  42. - Touchdown Rejus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    let me ask you a question

    How bad will Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, and Air America protest, it Barak removes Fitz. Its too local. He has to do it early, he can survive the PR hit

    Rich, just a question which poses a bigger threat to Obama, Rezko running unchecked with the Feds or the 72 hour PR hit he takes for removing Fitz?

  43. - Touchdown Rejus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    Thanks Bill, I was kind of joking but now I know I am on to something….hahaha…. its got the Blago internet watcher / denial/ seal of approval..Thank you

  44. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    I’m going to go with excising the Madigan dynasty from state politics by putting Lisa in the Senate as being more logical for the governor. And it looks magnanimous to the Madigan family and followers. It gives him an opportunity for a fresh start, maybe clawing his way back to 20 percent in the polls and giving his inner optimist some outside hope of a plurality win in a fractured primary. And she’s popular with state Democrats and the gov gets Brownie points for that too.

    But at this point the governor is behavior so bizarrely that I think this thread is premature at best and probably almost irrelevant. It would be an excellent thread if the governor was less unstable and behaving in a more logical manner — no matter how corrupt or depraved that might be, at least it would be predictable.

  45. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    ===There would be no honeymoon period if a Pres. Obama removed Fitz. It would cripple his administration from the start.===
    Get over it, Word. Nobody, except maybe you, cares about that hack Fitzgerald. If Fitz had any class he would tender his resignation and let the new President pick his own team. We need a competent prosecutor in that office for a change.

  46. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:22 pm:

    Tammy Duckworth…

  47. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:22 pm:

    Bill, please check your meds as well.

  48. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:23 pm:

    Bill, I hope they pay you by the pound for that stuff you have to shovel.

  49. - Gadfly - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:28 pm:

    First, I want whatever Rejus is smokin’, it must be goooooooooooood

    I agree with a whole host of folks on here that no one really helps him. And I think the political calculation of appointing himself could backfire by ticking off Fitz so much that he ramps up the investigation and takes him down more quickly.

    I think the best he can do is appoint someone who doesn’t draw any additional attention to himself, and the only way I see to do that is to defer to Obama. An Obama pick might be stained a little by being appointed by Blago, but a few trips from the incumbent Prez in a blue state would shore up that candidate’s standing, I think.

    Past that, I think YDD might’ve nailed it — someone who’ll agree not to seek election for the reasons he described.

  50. - Wonderboy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:35 pm:

    Personally, I think the Governor really wants to pick Tammy Duckworth (it’s obvious he’s endlessly impressed by her), but is feeling too much heat from the African American community, one of his only bases. The AA community in Chicago have been calling hard for Jesse Jr. (the Defender bascially already said he’s got the job).

    Jesse Jr. might seem the more logical, safer bet for the short term, but I think Tammy would ultimately be the better choice for the Governor and Illinois. She’s content to stay in Illinois and highlights what the state does best, when it comes to veterans’ rights and healthcare, and would focus on those issues in DC.

  51. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    One thing to remember about the “He’ll appoint himself” option.

    The Senate votes to seat all members. Illinois was without one of its US Senators for two years in the 1920s because the Senate voted not to seat a member appointed by Len Small. Small took umbrage and refused to appoint anyone else.

    IOW, the Senate could refuse to seat RRB, and then he’d be completely outta luck. Pat Quinn would make the next appointment.

  52. - Upstate - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:38 pm:

    How about State Senator/Reverend Meeks? Eliminates a rival for the African-American vote in the ‘10 primary. And any chance Blago has (which is probably none) also depends on restoring his standing with African American voters. So its a twofer.

  53. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:42 pm:

    I don’t think that he would have to resign until he was seated. Whatever, there is no way the Governor would appoint himself. He likes being Governor and still has plenty of work to get done for people. He will serve out this term and be successful in his bid for a third term. He will pick the person he feels will be the most qualified to help President Obama and Senator Durbin move America and Illinois forward after eight years of Bush and about 40 years of McCain.

  54. - Helpless - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:44 pm:

    We shouldn’t worry about a possible President Obama. I think we should be talking about a President McCain.

  55. - Carnac - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:45 pm:

    An african American appointment does not help him for all of the reasons that have been stated. He can offer it to Lisa Madigan or Alexi, but neither of them will take it figuring they have an excellent chance of beating himin 2010.

    So Rod will pander to a new constituency: Latinos. There are only two Democratic Latino US Senators (one Repub). Never had one from Illinois. Latinos have had a long associaion with Rod and would not turn down the chance to add a US Senator to the fold. Luis Gutierrez would gobble up his reward. Latinos would become the new darlings for Blagojevich.

  56. - wizard - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Bill’s drinking Koolaid or something stronger while wearing rose colored glasses. I agree with the line that Rod’s best bet is to appoint whomever Obama wishes.

  57. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:50 pm:

    I think nominating himself helps him the most. Assuming Fitzgerald goes away with an Obama administration, Rod won’t even survive a primary. He goes to the Senate where no one is prepared to primary him and he gets out of town. Joe Voter begins to forget him and maybe he even ushers in some good legislation to build some good will. Either way Congress has an approval rating that rivals his own… He’d be at home there.

  58. - ivoted4judy - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:55 pm:

    Bill, Bill, Bill. NOTHING this guy does is serious or completely thought out. It is all B S..
    look what crap he is pulling in Pontiac, a 3rd term???? Yeah like 3-5..

  59. - wizard - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 1:57 pm:

    JB-only problem is he has never “ushered” in good legislation and would not know where to begin. At best he could add his name to a bill created by someone else and hope it turned out to be a good one.

  60. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:02 pm:

    Emil. He will likely be a one termer making it a freefora all. Emil has a great story, rose from nothing to one of the most powerful men in IL. He has been loyal as one could want. Blago will reward him for it.

  61. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:03 pm:

    I just don’t understand all the Blago haters. If it wasn’t for the economic crisis Governor Rod’s approval rating would be even higher than the 32% in the Post-Dis poll.
    I’m sure that he will pick the best person for Illinois without regard for doing homself any good.

  62. - bardo2 - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:04 pm:

    Your point is right on target, Rich. In fact, to take it a step further, I suspect that Rod has already “heard through the DC grapevine” that he is unlikely to be seated with this cloud of federal investigation hanging over his head.

    So, my 2 cents in answering your question: Duckworth. A.) a qualified candidate who would bring very unique experience to Wash. and B.) You can be sure that her backers would be charged with raising serious $$ for the Gov — most likely for his legal defense fund.

  63. - Vote Quimby! - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:04 pm:

    I gotta go with Emil also. As messed up as our governor may be, I gotta think he would honor his friend with the appointment to keep an African-American in the US Senate. Of course he would be a lame duck, but Obama hasn’t done much for Illinois in his two years there…

  64. - Lefty Lefty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:04 pm:

    My wild guess from a post yesterday stands: Lisa Madigan. I just get the feeling that Baloney doesn’t like having her around as AG and certainly doesn’t want to run against her. Another black senator will come along soon enough. There are no quotas in the Senate, obviously.

  65. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:07 pm:


    I suspect Bill had a previous career in a cherry orchard.

  66. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:10 pm:

    I am sure that any selection for senator would help the Governor. There may a few that would hurt him less, either as a PR move or as part of a polictical tactic. For PR, it might an Illinois Congressman, except Gutierrez. Carol Ronen might find herself with an invitation to serve as well, or perhaps Louanna Peters. Emil Jones, Jr. might be a choice, but would Jones, Jr., want to spend a lot of time in DC while Jones III still a neophyte? I don’t the answer to that one.

  67. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:12 pm:

    Oops! I meant to say “I am NOT sure any selection for senator would help the Governor.”

  68. - Fortunato - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:13 pm:

    Obama will announce he is requesting the resignation of ALL Bush-appointed US Atty.s as did Bill Clinton. In the media swoon over Obama, he will pay no price for removing Fitzgerald. This is important in understanding who Blago will appoint to the Senate seat. He will pick someone he absolutely trusts to insure that Fitzgerald’s replacement will not be a corruption fighter and will go for any deal Blago deems acceptable to put Rezko behind him. Like have his campaign pay a big fine. It is not just Blago that wants to see Fitzgerald gone, it is most of the Chicago and Cook County politicians. I look for Blago to pick someone from the Metro East where corruption is as bad or worse. Lots of people with a history of going along with the gag. Obama will invite Fitzgerald to reapply knowing that his name will never be submitted for his consideration.

  69. - doubtful - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:16 pm:

    IOW, the Senate could refuse to seat RRB, and then he’d be completely outta luck. -Rich Miller

    It is possible, but I don’t see Reid organizing that given the push for the Democratic majority in the Senate, especially if coattails bring in more than expected. It’s all about the numbers for them right now, and I think Rod’s unpopularity is too local now to be a national issue, and the country would be too swept up in the Obama honeymoon for Rod’s self-appointment to draw too much national attention.

  70. - Just Asking - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:16 pm:

    How many years do you have to be in the US Senate to receive a pension? A great way to pay Emil back is to let him serve out Obama’s term especially if there is a pension involved. This also lets the dems line up better in an open gov election and an open senate election. Plus depending on who runs there could be two to three open state wide seats up for grabs too. Boy would that be the mother of all elections in Illinois.

  71. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:19 pm:

    ===I don’t see Reid organizing that given the push for the Democratic majority in the Senate, ===

    Um, Pat Quinn, who would be governor, is also a Democrat.

    ===I think Rod’s unpopularity is too local now to be a national issue===

    A governor under multiple federal investigations by a well-known (in DC) prosecutor would not be a local issue.

    ===Obama honeymoon for Rod’s self-appointment to draw too much national attention===

    A self-appointment could seriously damage that honeymoon. Don’t kid yourself. It would be a huge issue. I just don’t see it.

    Besides, as I’ve said before in private, if he moves to DC that brings a new US Attorney into the probe.

  72. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===Louanna Peters===

    Just crazy enough to work.

    Gold star.

  73. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:23 pm:

    They would seat him, he hasn’t been charged with anything, if you don’t seat him you give cred to all of the Tony stuff and make it harder for President Obama when he runs 4 years later.

    Also I think 2 years away in the US Senate with Governor Quinn and a larger number of dems in Springfield and the deadlock that will bring might make Rod look better if he ‘comes back’ to run for a third term.

    It might make us miss Rod the way we miss Brad now.

  74. - jerry 101 - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    Rod opens up a random phonebook, flips to a random white page, closes his eyes, and points at a name.

    There’s your new Senator.

  75. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:35 pm:

    SO given the possibility of Obama appointing his own people, is it likely that the people in Fitz’s office are working a little harder to get Blago, etc indicted before Jan 21?

  76. - Captain Flume - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:44 pm:

    Or perhaps instead of a random name in the phone book, this blog will serve as a list of possibilities.

  77. - casual observer - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:46 pm:

    What would happen to the impeachment threat if he appointed Pat Quinn?

  78. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:51 pm:

    Or perhaps instead of a random name in the phone book, this blog will serve as a list of possibilities.

    Problem is, this blog is getting to be too long to throw a dart at.

  79. - chic ster - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans available to other federal employees. They become vested after five years of full participation.”

  80. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    And it might land on one of us.

  81. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:54 pm:

    First, I’d like to state that I personally find the notion that because Obama is black, his replacement must be black, to be highly offensive. That being said, Blago’s best chance for reelection (only, of course, in his own little fantasy world) lies with strong black support, so it will be a prominent African-American, if Blago has any wits about him (I know, that’s questionable).

    Secondly, it much much much behooves Rod to “rid” the state of Patrick Fitzgerald. Here’s where the tricky part comes in. It would be politically difficult for Obama to remove Fitzgerald, but it’s to his own advantage (Rezko real estate deal and whatever else Rezko may be singing about) and those of his allies with the Machine that it be done. But, it has to be done without making it “look” bad.

    Obama’s replacement, from Rod’s standpoint, has to be a willing fall guy, someone willing to make the recommendation to the new Prez for a NEW US Attorney for northern Illinois. That might kill reelection chances in 6 years, so you’d need someone older in age who isn’t hoping to embark on a 30 year Senate career. Should he agree to the terms, Jesse White would seem to fit the bill.

  82. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:54 pm:

    Chic ster,

    The federal pension issue is easily solved by 3 more years of service in an obscure federal job, if this is a lame-duck sort of appointment.

  83. - chic ster - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:55 pm:

    I should have read farther….”Members of Congress are not eligible for a pension until they reach the age of 50, but only if they’ve completed 20 years of service. Members are eligible at any age after completing 25 years of service or after they reach the age of 62. Please also note that Member’s of Congress have to serve at least 5 years to even receive a pension.”

  84. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 2:57 pm:


    Obama’s term ends in 2 years, and so would anyone’s who took his place.

  85. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:03 pm:

    Six Degrees, duh, what wuz I tinkin’? See what happens when there’s a blockage between your brain and typing fingers?

    Argument still applies, though. Unless they could find someone stupid enough or overoptimistic enough to believe he or she could be elected two years after doing that. In Blago’s spot, I’d be appealing to JW, “wouldn’t it be fitting that you end your long career in public service as a United States Senator?” It would also open up the SoS slot and the possibility of filling it with someone Blago sees as a reelection threat to him, and also help such a potential threat by moving to the traditional springboard to the Guv’s mansion.

    Some some random thoughts.

  86. - Stacker of Wheat - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:14 pm:

    a well timed indictment and this question is moot.

  87. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:19 pm:

    Is Bradley Tusk old enough to meet the minimum age requirement?

  88. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:21 pm:

    ===a well timed indictment and this question is moot. ===

    Only if he’s convicted or impeached and removed from office by Jan. 20th. Highly improbable outcomes.

  89. - SpringfieldDem - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:26 pm:

    In terms of re-election, picking William Daley may help Rod the most. That pick might help smooth over some tensions between Rod and Mayor Daley and help him keep the Chicago base behind him in a crowded primary. Also, putting Daley in D.C. eliminates a potential gubernatorial challenger with unknown strength.

  90. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:38 pm:

    Ron Gidwitz would be a good pick for Blagojevich, if he didn’t think he could pass a Senate vote. But I think Blagojevich could pass and be seated. Unless Reid wanted to make Blagojevich some kind of poster child for a new day of Democratic rule, Blagojevich would be hushed into a Senate seat.

    Ron Gidwitz is the kind of pick Blagojevich likes to make. Ron has enough credibility of bipartisanship to tap into a new voter base for Rod, and it would give all his enemies fits over the sheer nerve of Blagojevich to name him instead of one of them.

    Blagojevich doesn’t like to be led. He isn’t going to placate his own party because it can’t stand him. So he would select Ron Gidwitz out of spite and hope.

  91. - leigh - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:42 pm:

    I believe I heard from Fitzgerald himself as a matter of courtesy all fed prosecutors submitt their resignation when there is a new commander in chief. Now I could have dreamnt that, but I don’t think so. I can’t help but long for the day when the race and sex of an individual is not what “qualifies” them or makes them desirable. I find myself a little ill reading all these comments.

  92. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:43 pm:

    Is Bradley Tusk old enough to meet the minimum age requirement?

    Doubt if he would take the pay cut from Wall Street…ummm, never mind.

  93. - Legaleagle - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:46 pm:

    Hey - He might appoint a Republican just to tweak his own party’s detractors! Somebody moderate who has not been in his face!

  94. - OneMan - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    I’d watch Senate Idol…

    I would even try out I figure I would make it at least to the goofball show…

  95. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    Carnac makes a good point: Blagojevich might find some benefit in appointing Miguel DelValle.

    The former State Senator has the brains, he’s a good campaigner, and he’s got a reputation as a reformer who’s led on education and health care.

  96. - James the Intolerant - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:57 pm:

    Two of my favorite political commentators, Rich and Paul Green.
    I’d say Lisa Madigan because Blagoevich is just delusional enough to think he can win re-elction. But he would help himself with his so-far loyal African American voters if he did appoint an African American.

  97. - Reality - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 3:59 pm:

    Blago to the Senate helps Blago the most. Then when he has to run again he will face a Republican who will finally win back the seat for the R’s (a la’ Mosley-Braun vs Fitzgerald).

  98. - Joe the Unlicensed, Tax Delinquent Plumber - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 4:14 pm:

    Send me….I’ve seen it all before!

  99. - BIG R.PH. - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 4:45 pm:

    James Claiborne. He’s black and somewhat a neutral choice.

    Jay Hoffman. You gotta reward his loyalty somehow!

  100. - S. Illinois - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 4:54 pm:

    It’ll be the first person to write a $25,000 check.

  101. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:12 pm:

    It won’t be Lisa. All politics is local, and the guv’s mansion is the prize. It might behoove Blago from one standpoint to appoint her, but I doubt she’d accept it for that reason.

    I don’t see any way Obama’s replacement would get the job without agreeing to recommend someone other than Fitz for the US Attorney’s job. As a matter of fact, I’ll go out on a limb and flat-out predict that he’s gone if Obama wins.

    I hope I’m wrong, and I’d be happy to eat a heaping helping of crow if I am.

  102. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:25 pm:

    Snidely - I don’t see the replacement having any say so in the recommendation. At the most, Obama will rely on a recommendation from Durbin. And he will walk very, very carefully on that thin ice of recommending getting rid of Fitz.

  103. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:27 pm:

    ===I don’t see any way Obama’s replacement would get the job without agreeing to recommend someone other than Fitz for the US Attorney’s job.===

    The senior, not junior, Senator has that job. The new person would have no role.

    When people get their tinfoil hats on, it’s tough for any actual information to penetrate.

  104. - Quizzical - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:53 pm:

    I’ll go with the plurality and suggest either Jesse Junior or Schakowsky. The only base Blago has left seems to be on the South Side (he’s like Clinton in his proclivity for appearing at black churches on weekends when scandal breaks). Blago might want to shore up this base by appointing JJJ. In a horse race primary against a number of white candidates, that may be all he needs.

    Blago would want access to Schakowsky’s fund raising prowess as a quid pro quo for an appointment, and he’s just careless enough to suggest it. I have no idea whether she’s careless enough to go along.

  105. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 5:54 pm:

    Plus, recommending getting rid of Fitz would be so like the Bush Justice Department. And I assume the prevailing thought process for the next four years, no matter who wins, will be: what would Bush do? and then do the opposite.

  106. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 7:00 pm:

    Both Rich and Bill have studied their history and make great points.

    Per Rich, the Senate is the final arbiter of who they seat. They do not have to act on an appointment. Even further, under the Rules of the Senate, a gubernatorial appointment has to be signed by both the governor AND the secretary of state. Hello, Jesse White.

    Per Bill, Huey Long was elected Senator while he was still governor of Louisiana. Because he hated his louey governor, he waited two years until he got his own guy elected governor before he took the oath for the Senate.

  107. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 9:07 pm:

    Has anyone mentioned Blair Hull yet? The man spent close to $30 million on his campaign. If Rod gives him a third of a term, wouldn’t that be worth $10 million?

    That would certainly help Rod the most.

  108. - Frank Sobotka - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 9:53 pm:

    “We have decided to make it an American Idol style competition.”

    Unfortunate suggestion, given the connection in that other story of parolees on the loose - courtesy of the Governor, and the Jennifer Hudson tragedy…

  109. - Bookworm - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 10:04 pm:

    If he just wants a seat warmer until the next election, Emil Jones would do. If he wants someone who can run for the seat and win, I’d say Jesse Jr.

  110. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Oct 29, 08 @ 11:12 pm:

    I’ve taken off the tinfoil hat, and discovered it’s great for baking fish sticks. I especially feel like a rube since I know all this stuff. Type without thinking … yikes.

    Oh, well, I deserved it.

  111. - Scott Fawell's Cellmate - Thursday, Oct 30, 08 @ 1:55 am:

    A couple thoughts.

    First, Rod will probably talk publicly about placing Tammy Duckworth in the open Senate seat, but its highly likely that Obama would ask Duckworth to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs in his administration. She has generally done a good job leading the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and could do the fedeal job. Plus, as a wounded vet who has been through the system recently, she has a valuable perspective on the Department. In terms of her political credentials, she was well received at the Democratic convention, when the Obama campaign gave her podium time and put her speech in prime time, and Durbin and Emmanuel got to know and like her during her 2006 Congressional race.

    Second, to borrow a baseball phrase, watch for the double-switch in Rod’s appointment to the vacant Senate seat. For example, if Rod appoints Lisa to the Senate (which she may or may not take), then he can also appoint Jay Hoffman to the then vacant IL AG position, which gives Rod what he really needs: a friendly chief law enforcement official, who will back Rod up in his fights with the Speaker and who might give a little peek into the criminal investigation into the Governor’s Office. Now that Rod’s visions of the White House have gone, Rod could care less about what happens in DC. Now the focus is on IL, and if sending someone to DC opens up a spot that helps Rod here in IL, then he’ll ring up the dugout phone and call for the double switch. (In case you’re thinking Rod might appoint Pat Quinn to the Senate and then appoint Jay Hoffman to the open Lt Gov seat - thus ensuring a friend to pardon Rod for any state law offenses and/or to make sure records and documents in the Gov office stay in the Gov office (and not in the U.S. Attorney’s Office) if Rod leaves - the IL Constitution states the Lt Gov osition remains open if vacated, with the SOS serving as Gov in case of a Gov vacancy.)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* *** UPDATED x1 - Another one *** Unclear on the "our party" concept
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* 1,500 rally for state separatism at Effingham rally
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* #TaxSplaining: Does the governor's revenue forecast add up?
* *** UPDATED x1 *** TRS opposes Pritzker's pension holiday, buyout expansion
* Pritzker’s Growth Fantasy
* The Credit Union Difference
* Simon Poll: More now think state is on right track, 66 percent back $15 minimum wage
* Measure advances to block immigrant detention facilities
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* *** UPDATED x1 - Think Big Illinois responds *** Rate the new Ideas Illinois digital ad opposing the graduated income tax
* *** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** Rate Think Big Illinois' new TV ad
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