Richardson has withdrawn his name as the President-Elect Obama’s choice to serve as Commerce Secretary because of an ongoing grand jury investigation into an alleged pay-to-play scheme – an investigation not unlike the one closing in around Gov. Rod Blagojevich that has, through a series of events, resulted in Burris being named as Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate.
Now Burris is going to Washington while Richardson is going home.
“While this decision was a difficult one, I think it was the right thing to do," Richardson said. “Yesterday, I was hurting over this decision. I lost a Cabinet appointment."
Meanwhile, Burris, confronted by a mob of reporters at O’Hare airport as he flies to the nation’s capitol to try to claim his seat, says the right thing to do is to defy the political universe.
Why, he was asked.
“Because of my commitment to the people of the state of Illinois,” he said, though the people of the state of Illinois have not spoken except in polls that are overwhelmingly against him.
One thing Richardson has done deftly in his career is learn how to live for another day.
Burris doesn’t have another day to live for, and Blago passed that threshhold a long time ago.
“I’m the junior senator from Illinois,” Burris said at least five times at O’Hare, as if he had to convince himself as much as the media assemblage.
Then again, Richardson insisted for years that he had been a major league baseball draft pick.
It’s hard to give up a dream.
Blagojevich knows something about that. According to transcripts of wire taps contained in the criminal complaint against the governor, Blago thought he had a shot at a Cabinet job despite the pay-to-play investigation swirling around him that is far more intense than what Richardson is facing.
If that position had ever been offered, you can bet that, unlike Richardson, Blago would never have withdrawn his name. And then he and Burris might both be going to Washington together to claim jobs few folks would want them to have.