Obama's Senate seat

Speculation on who will replace Obama in the Senate begins (pictures of some of those under consideration). The state's 100 percent perfect constitution - which voters protected by a huge margin rather than calling a new Constitutional Convention - does not give the voters the choice of who that will be. So our endearingly-crazy-if-he-weren't-so-spectacularly-corrupt governor Rod Blagojevich will make the decision.

Names mentioned in the Tribune account include Blagojevich himself, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, my House representative Jesse Jackson Jr, other representatives Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, and Jan Schakowsky, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Dan Hynes, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraq war vet who lost her 2006 run for a seat in the House.

It would be a disaster if Blagojevich chose himself, especially since he's liable to be indicted before too long. Jarrett is a former official from the Harold Washington and Daley administrations, closely connected to Chicago's corporate elite, and played a key role in destroying the city's public housing. Another discouraging example of the kind of people Obama chooses to surround himself with.

Gutierrez has recently become mired in his own corruption scandal. I don't know his politics too well, but I've never heard anything that impressed me much. I don't know Danny Davis at all, but with the exception of a bizarre 문선명/Mun Seonmyeong (Sun Myung Moon) connection, his Wikipedia page makes his politics sound pretty good.

I'm not that familiar with the politics of Madigan, Hynes, Giannoulias, or Duckworth, but my impression is that they're all lousy centrists. So that leaves Schakowsky and Jackson, who are both among the most progressive members of the House and would both be wonderful friends to the left in the Senate - and would represent a big improvement over Obama in the Senate. I don't really know how we can influence the outcome of this über-insider decision, but we have to hope that it's one of those two.

Incidentally, unless Jackson, Davis, Jarrett, or (God forbid) Emil Jones is chosen for the seat, the Senate will once again have zero black members. Proof enough by itself that the election of Obama has not fixed America's deep racial problems.

1 comment:

stephen said...

I know everyones saying Obama should be replaced by another African-American, but I'm going to disagree. Schakowsky has earned this spot. She is a fantastic progressive, one of Obama's earliest supporters (since his days in the state senate, long before Jackson ever was), and this may be more opinion, but I think she would be a more effective legislator on the behalf of Illinois.

With regard to public transit, Schakowsky has been a supporter of the various yellow line proposals for a long time and she would be a powerful advocate for that transit corridor in the United States senate.