Monday, January 5, 2009

Rod the Hair Guy Goes to the Circus

It was a fairly pleasant winter afternoon in Streeterville, 31 degrees and sunny at the Mini. Still no word on the wind chill factor. It was the first day back at work after the holidays and there was a great deal of buzz about Rod the Hair Gov's appointment of Roland Burris to the Senate seat formerly belonging to President-Elect Obama. I guess I feel it necessary to comment here, since I am rapidly becoming the only person in print anywhere, in the newspapers, in the magazines, online, or on TV or radio who has not yet commented on Crazy Rod the Hair Guy. I wouldn't want to be left out. This is a trend going back to childhood, when I was often one of the last ones chosen for teams on the playground. First chosen in a spelling contest, last chosen for a baseball team. OK, usually not last, but second or third from the last. Close enough.

Let's get one thing straight. Rod's in total denial about the fact that the FBI has him on tape doing things that are totally illegal and in all likelihood is going to spend some time in the Big House, and by Big House I don't mean the Governor's Mansion in Springfield. He's gone wacko. The Illinois legislature is in the process of impeaching him. The Attorney General of the state failed to have him removed by delcaring him unfit and unable to do his job anymore. The U.S. Senate has told him repeatedly that they would not seat anyone he appoints, as he is going to be removed from office and will be going to prison, in all likelihood. Yet, in spite of all, he went ahead and appointed a second or third tier candidate who didn't appear on anybody else's list of possible U.S. Senators from Illinois. Apparently, everyone else had already turned him down since he'd already been all over the news trying to hawk the position to the highest bidder.

This is the thing, though. After everyone else had been rejected by Rod the Hair Guy or had themselves rejected his offer, so as not to have a stain on their own personal record, Roland Burris accepted. Let me say that again. Roland Burris accepted Rod's appointment, immediately causing a shit storm in the media and in government. To make it all worse, a number of African-American Congressmen who had formerly backed the members of the U.S. Senate in their determination not to seat a Rod the Hair Guy appointment, suddenly made an about face and were accepting Mr. Burris with open arms. Thus was born a racial issue. Anyone who would not accept Roland Burris was called a racist. Just another plot to keep the black man down.

Let's be clear here. Rod the Hair Guy has not, at this point in time, been convicted of any crime, nor has he been convicted on impeachment charges being brought by the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield. He is still legally the Governor of the State of Illinois. According to the Constitution of the State of Illinois, his appointment is legal. Roland Burris is the Junior Senator of the State of Illinois. I'm not a lawyer, but that much seems pretty clear to me. There may be some legal machinations that all those lawyers in the Senate in Washington D.C. can come up with to stop his being seated, but we'll see where all of that leads.

This is not the point, however. The point is that the people who are opposing his being seated are not doing so because he is a black man. They are opposing him because the man who appointed him is a crooked politician who was caught on tape trying to sell that Senate appointment and anyone, white, black, Latino, Asian or Martian who takes that appointment is immediately under suspicion and is likely to lose that Senate seat when he runs for re-election next time around.

The fact that the Congressional Black Caucus chooses to make a racial issue out of this is entirely disingenuous. I understand the impulse to want at least one African-American in the lily white legislative body, known as the U.S. Senate. I understand the impulse to want a woman in that augustly male body known as the U.S. Senate. I also understand, however, the impulse to want someone competent and electable there to do the job for the people of the State of Illinois. I teach the U.S. Constitution to high school students every year, and in all the times I have read that document, beginning to end, I have never seen anything in it guaranteeing a Senate seat to any person, based on race, gender, or any other special interest group. In order to be a Senator you must be at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the state you are representing, and a citizen of the U.S. for I forget just how many years. That's all.

For a group of African-American legislators who formerly opposed any appointment by Rod the Hair Guy to suddenly cry "Racial discrimination," because the guy appointed is African-American is unconscionable manipulation. It has no place in the circus that replacing Obama has become. For shame.

As for the other guys, they may just have to recognize that it is a legal appointment. Why not jus quietly accept him and give him the support that any new Senator needs to do his job well. Maybe if we give him the opportunity to prove himself he can do a decent job. Of course, there is also the possibility that further investigation will show that Mr. Burris donated money to Rod the Hair Guy's campaign fund and got his reward and then we'll suffer further embarassment by having Burris and Blagojevich share a cell down the hall from former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

Sometimes I long for the simplicity of politics in someplace like Minnesota where former Saturday Night Live comedians run for the Senate and are called pornographers by the Republican opposition, where former WWF wrestlers are elected Governor. While we're at it, why don't we just have Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey take over the entire U.S. Congress and farm out the government of the states to The Three Stooges? Even if the stooges are dead, they can't possibly create less of a circus in state government than we already have.


  1. as he is going to be removed from office and will be going to prison

    Where all good Illinois governors go!

  2. Is Rod the Hair Guy more embarrassing than Eliot Spitzer? Of course, Eliot didn't break the law. Twice I've seen him jogging on my way to the Met. When he notices that I'm double-checking, making sure it's him, Eliot waves. Still jaunty.
    btw, Jennifer sent me here.

  3. Trust me, I'll take an ex-wrestler over the current governor any day.