UPDATE DEC. 2: Some of these questions have now been asked and – sort of – answered. Let’s take a look (from various news sources).
Well, Durbin did it.
1. Why not just wait for Barack Obama to become president and ask for him to commute George Ryan’s sentence? You certainly have more influence with Obama than George W. Bush. And Obama certainly is more familiar with Ryan’s case.
“Durbin said he did not ‘think it would be appropriate’ to wait to ask President-elect and fellow Illinois Democrat Barack Obama to issue a commutation when he takes office since clemency actions normally come during the final days of an outgoing presidency.
Define “appropriate.” And, actually, presidents act on pardons and clemency requests throughout their terms; there is usually a flurry at the end of a term because it’s the last chance they get to exercise their power. And wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the new president from Illinois acted on this case? And will someone ask where Obama stands on this?
In conjunction with stating on Thursday that George Ryan should be set free, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to announce the following this week:
* He will not only keep Death Row empty, but clear out Simple Felony and Misdemeanor Row too.
* He is planning to enter the priesthood sometime between the end of his term as governor and the day of his coming federal indictment. He has also taken on a second job at a soup kitchen and a third job as a paralegal at Winston & Strawn.
* He will accept an ambassadorship from Barack Obama, but swears it is not because it will give him diplomatic immunity.
* Yes, he knows what irony means.
* Patti made him do it.
Meanwhile, Jim Thompson insists that Ryan feels remorse.
A) He’s just been too shy to say so publicly.
B) He’s damn sorry he ever trusted Scott Fawell.
C) He’s sorry he shanked that guy in Unit C and he’ll apologize for anything to get out before the ladies trap him in the shower.
So Luis Gutierrez’s pitch to Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate was that he only wanted to serve as a place-holder for the next two years in order to work on immigration reform. Then he’d be out.
Um . . . huh?
Let’s do some good ol’ fashion speculatin’.
1. Face value is reality. Nah.
2. Face value is partially reality. Gutierrez wants two years in the Senate not only to work on immigration reform, but to raise his profile for his next move: mayor, governor, who knows.
3. Gutierrez thinks his wife will be able to make even more lucrative real estate deals on the side if he’s a senator instead of just a rep.
4. Gutierrez mistakenly believes that Obama’s Hyde Park mansion comes with the seat.
5. Gutierrez mistakenly believed that Blagojevich preferred a place-holder; his real intention was to run for re-election to the Senate in 2010 because the people would demand it.
North Side state Sen. John Cullerton won the sweepstakes to replace Emil Jones in what is a victory for Richard M. Daley and state House Speaker Michael Madigan and a loss for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is not a happy camper today.
So who is John Cullerton? A lawyer and lobbyist, natch!
Cullerton is a partner at Thompson Coburn, where, according to a resume available on the firm’s website, he specializes in:
* Government relations work with respect to real estate tax assessment and real estate tax appeals
* Zoning, land use and annexation
* Licensing and permit applications before local governments
* Procedures and advocacy strategies for clients with matters being considered by legislators, regulators and policy makers.
And there’s more.
The buzz around U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. as Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate should Obama win the presidency is at an all-time high today – and Jackson is loving it.
The Hill is reporting that “Illinois political insiders say Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who defended Barack Obama after his father famously threatened to castrate him, is the favorite to replace the Democratic nominee in the Senate.”
Jackson didn’t speak to The Hill, but the paper published a statement put out by his office saying he would be “honored” if appointed to the seat.
The statement also formed the basis of brief post on Politico.
And Jackson’s office left no doubt about Junior’s interest in the seat by sending out an e-mail on Sunday touting the Chicago Defender’s endorsement of Jackson for the potential vacancy, even if it did add perfunctorily that “The Congressman believes it is premature to participate in speculation.”
If the punditry is to be believed, Jackson’s chief rival for the post is U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The punditry is split, however, on whether Obama will indeed make the choice behind the scenes through force of will or if he’ll leave it up to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has the power to make the appointment.
I find it difficult to believe a President Obama won’t exert his will, but CQ Politics reports that “Those pondering the possibilities, though, agree that Blagojevich is unlikely to want any direction from Obama, and unlikely to get it.
“’Obama will not step foot into Illinois politics. It’s a minefield,’ said Paul Green who is a professor of policy studies at Roosevelt University. ‘He’d go to Kabul before he’d go to Springfield’.”
From the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform:
ICPR WELCOMES REJECTION OF GOVERNOR’S VETO OF PAY-TO-PLAY REFORM LEGISLATION
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Senate on Monday rejected Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto of House Bill 824, legislation banning political contributions by state contractors to the officeholder awarding the contract. Because the House previously voted overwhelmingly in favor of overriding the veto, the Senate approval is final action, and the original bill will become law on January 1, 2009.
The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) released the following statement from Cynthia Canary, Director of ICPR: