Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Always Good Times in Illinois

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Always Good Times in Illinois

If you've been missing our recent scandals, you'll be glad to know they've never completely gone away. Roland Burris is now changing his story about the contact he had with Blago's people before he was appointed senator. Previously, he'd said that, although he'd made it known to some of his own friends about his interest in the position but didn't actually talk to anybody representing the governor. Now, it appears, that statement is only true as long as you don't count the conversations he had with representatives of Blago. One argument he made is that, although he provided the previous statements while under oath, he would've mentioned the other discussions he had if he'd only been asked about them specifically or if the Illinois House committee he was testifying to didn't keep changing the subject. Is this perjury? Could be, although there may be some way that he can technically avoid the charge. Did the Senate cave when it seated him too quickly? That would be a yes.

And what of Blago himself? He's still out making the media rounds gossiping about legislators (although so far keeping any actual names out of it). Apparently there are people in the Illinois legislature who drink too much and cheat on their wives--who would've thought? While I'm not indifferent to that kind of behavior, it seems pointless for Blago to be smearing anonymous lawmakers. If he's got evidence of actual criminal activity, he should share it (and if he's able to strike a deal with prosecutors, I don't have a problem with that, either). Otherwise, he should shut up.

All that raises the question of what kind of advice the former governor is getting. While looking for other links, I came across this profile of Glenn Selig, a Tampa PR guy who's representing Blago and suspected murderer Scott Drew Peterson. Blago's people, apparently, approached Selig after being impressed with his work representing R. Kelly in his recent travails. It always hard to tell what might be going on behind the scenes, but we get a glimpse of the relationship between the politician and the PR man in the opening paragraphs of the piece. Selig describes how he and Blago deconstructed the politician's winning appearance on Letterman. So it all makes sense. If you've got triumphs like that, why not stay in the national spotlight?


At 6:05 AM, February 17, 2009, Blogger Jim C. said...

"suspected murderer Scott Peterson"

Drew Peterson.

Drew Peterson is a suspected murderer.

Scott Peterson is a convicted murderer.

At 9:42 AM, February 17, 2009, Anonymous Doug said...

You are so right. I find it far too easy to get my Peterson murderers mixed up.

At 11:25 AM, February 17, 2009, Anonymous Lyn said...

Burris says he did not lie. He is implying people did not ask the right questions. Same tactic Pres. Bill Clinton used.

Burris lied that's all there is to it.

At 5:17 PM, February 17, 2009, Blogger Jason said...

If Buris is correct about his answers being factually accurate -- and I don't know enough to say whether he is -- then I'm not going to hold it against the guy that he didn't volunteer additional information beyond the scope of the question. It's the job of the person asking the questions to figure out what questions he wants to know the answer to, not the job of the answerer to guess what the questioner really wants to know and provide that information.

As for seating Senator Burris, the fault lies in the Illinois legislature, which sat on its hands instead of passing a law taking away from Governor Blagojevish the right to appoint the replacement. Once Governor Blagojevich exercised his lawful right to appoint a Senator, everyone else's hands were tied.

At 2:54 AM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Doug said...

I've only seen a partial transcript of Burris's testimony, but it looks like he was giving incomplete answers. He'd respond to a question but then would leave out applicable information. I agree that most people in that position realize that testifying can be a thrust-and-parry type of situation. Questioners didn't follow up to make sure they had all of their information, and they have to take the responsibility for that. They know the rules of the game, too, and they should be more careful.

As to the Senate, though, Reid and Durbin were making noises about not seating Burris, and they had some arguments for having the power to do that. At the very least, I think that they could've delayed seating him. They weren't powerless (or at least they claimed they weren't).

At 9:16 AM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Doug said...

I was posting too late last night and forgot another of the points I meant to make. Although I said I agreed with the idea that the House impeachment committee has to be responsible for the questions they asked and the answers they settled for, there's still the fact that, after reviewing his testimony, Burris and his lawyers themselves realized that it didn't convey everything it should have, and they initiated the affidavit to introduce the new information. He himself decided that his testimony wasn't as thorough as it should have been.

At 12:41 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Jason said...

Interesting. Like I said, I haven't been following this very closely, so I wasn't aware that the impetus for the allegations that Senator Burris didn't testify accurately is that ... Senator Burris submitted an affidavit because he felt he might not have testified accurately. That puts the press conference I saw, where he was saying "I answered the questions as best I could, but they kept changing the subject before I got a chance to complete my answers!" in a new light.

And notwithstanding what Senators Reid and Durbin said back when Senator Burris was first appointed, they didn't really have the power to keep him out and will be hard pressed to kick him out now that he's there.

The right thing would be for him to resign, but the right thing would have been for him not to have accepted in the first place, so I'm not particularly sanguine about the situation.

Oddly enough, the Blogger word verification for this post is "crookeek," which sums the whole Burris situation up very nicely.


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