Rich laughs off Sam Boyd’s suggestion at Tapped that Blagojevich should appoint Emil Jones as a non-controversial appointee to Obama’s Senate seat. As Rich points out in comments, Jones has many issues:
So, his wife’s redesignation to get a pay raise, his stepson’s millions of dollars in state contracts, his son’s last-minute appointment to the ballot, “food stamps,” “pay raise,” recall, multitudinous failures on his supposedly pet issue of school funding reform, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. are all nothing to be concerned with?
The man is probably the single most reviled politician in Illinois next to Todd Stroger. And you bring up Auchi? Please.
In fairness to Boyd and Nate Silver who suggested it before, Illinois politics is a bit hard to figure. That said, Emil Jones would be tremendously entertaining as a US Senator and short of Alan Keyes, would probably be the best thing for bloggers (oh Alan, how I miss ye!).
Jones is a crusty, old-time pork barrel politician who also happens to be fairly liberal on social issues so most liberals look the other way because with all of the outrages in Illinois politics, he’s a rather benign figure in the sense he at least supports liberal causes more than many other party leaders. He’s particularly entertaining when he gets someone like Phylis Schlafley rambling about unisex bathrooms and the bit about needing food stamps if he didn’t get a pay raise was funny, just not appropriately so for the Senate President
But let’s make it clear, there are two big downsides to appointing Emil Jones as a caretaker.
First, who knows what the hell he’ll say next.
Second, who knows what the hell he’s done previously enriching friends, relatives, Governor’s State and any other pet institution. He picked out Obama early on because he’s smart and crafty and he wanted a capstone to his career in electing a US Senator and probably figured he’d benefit from that. He did a bit better than he expected.
Jones sees politics as a way to help his community. It’s just that he sees his community as primarily friends and relatives. There’s nothing new there and I think it’s fair to say he has often been a target of extra criticism because he’s kinda different than previous Lege leaders in one important way. But that doesn’t makes him innocent or somehow above the dirty work of politics in Illinois. He’d be an awful choice as a US Senator unless you enjoy spectacles. So, yes, I’m sort of rooting for it, but I don’t expect it.