With the governor’s approval rating currently hovering at about 13 percent, the decision gives him a rare chance for a positive moment in the spotlight. But some observers caution that any choice he makes is likely to make numerous groups unhappy.
“In normal times, [Blagojevich] would pick somebody who can help him in a 2010 primary, but there isn’t anyone out there who can help him with what he needs,” says Paul Green, a political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago. “It’s a multiple-choice test with no right answer.... If he resurrected Mother Teresa, they’d say it’s a bad choice because she lacks experience.” Anyone he picks, adds Professor Green, will be compared with his predecessor, and “whomever he picks will not be Obama.”
There is no shortage of candidates.
Speculation, so far, has centered on two African-American Chicago congressmen, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Danny Davis; Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who is nearing retirement and maybe wouldn’t run for reelection in 2010; Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston; Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago; and two potential challengers to Blagojevich in 2010, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.