Rushing to judgment, insulting voters

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Gov. Pat Quinn has decided that if U.S. Sen. Roland Burris does not resign in two weeks, he will go ahead and push for legislation to hold a special election to replace him.

Gov. Pat Quinn has decided that if U.S. Sen. Roland Burris does not resign in two weeks, he will go ahead and push for legislation to hold a special election to replace him.

This “special” election should be an affront to every Illinois citizen, but it would be especially galling for Black Illinoisans. While Rod Blagojevich was under investigation for at least the last three years of his tenure as governor, the legislature didn’t rewrite any laws or push through any special legislation to get him out of office.

While his predecessor, George Ryan, was operating under a criminal cloud for years, no one recalled him or impeached him. Dan Rostenkowski was stripped of his congressional power after being indicted (and later convicted and jailed) in the post office scandal, but it was left to the voters–in a general election–to vote the rascal out. It took Blagojevich’s arrest to finally wake up the Legislature, and even then, they skirted the rule of law, impeaching a governor who was accused but not convicted of any crime.

Now of course, with Illinois as the center of attention because of Barack Obama, our legislative leaders are appalled. They are falling all over themselves to get legal opinions from Lisa Madigan and force a $50 million special election (this, while the state cannot pay its vendors) to get Burris out of the U.S. Senate. The public reason is that Burris is not effective in the U.S. Senate because of the cloud surrounding his selection and his add-on affidavits regarding his contact with Blagojevich prior to his appointment.

The real reason is that they fear Blagojevich backlash at the polls, and they would like to eradicate any connection with the deposed governor, especially his choice for the U.S. Senate seat. One would think that would include Quinn, who ran with Blagojevich twice, attended his fundraisers and could not find his voice about Blagojevich’s transgressions until it became clear that he would benefit.

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