This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from December 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH, D-ILL.: So I'm here today to announce that I am appointing Roland Burris as the next United States senator from Illinois.
Please don't allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR PAT QUINN, D-ILL.: The governor is going to be impeached and convicted. He, himself, said he would not make an appointment to the United States Senate. He has contradicted himself.
I think the people of Illinois do not want him in any way, shape, or form to make an appointment to anything. He is not fit to serve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: Well, words from Governor Blagojevich and his lieutenant governor, who I think it's fair to say, holds his boss in fairly low esteem.
Now some analytical observations from Bill Sammon, FOX News Washington deputy managing editor; Jeff Birnbaum, managing editor digital for The Washington Times and FOX News contributor; and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer — also a FOX News contributor.
The inimitable governor of Illinois never ceases to amaze us, and I hardly know where to begin on all this. I suppose the first point, Charles, would be Blagojevich cannot be accused of not having enormous chutzpah in coming out and doing what everyone has said you cannot and should not do.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Amazed and amused. I have to confess, I love this guy. It's been a tough year, and this guy is pure entertainment, and he surprises every time.
Look, he may be a sleazy, slimy, lowlife lizard, and I say that with the utmost respect, but he sure knows how to put on a show. And what I love about the show he put on is the surprise witness. It was Perry Mason meets O.J. trial.
You get Bobby Rush, African-American congressman, who, incidentally, eight years ago had defeated Barack Obama in a race for the House seat, a lovely connection there. Rush comes up on the stage and he pulls a Johnnie Cochran in which he turns an issue, which up until now had no connection with race, into an entirely racial issue.
It was as low of pulling that card out of the deck as I have ever seen, and you almost have to admire it for, exactly as you said, it's chutzpah.
Rush talked about the 99 white senators rejecting the only perspective African-American, warning that it would be seen and felt nationally.
Now, I think the reason it's not going to work — there are a lot of reasons, but Obama himself said a few minutes later, in a statement, that he supported the Senate in rejecting anybody the governor had appointed. It defuses that. But you have to admire the audacity of this governor's hope.
ANGLE: And, gentlemen, he is appointing Roland Burris, who is a former assistant state attorney general and an African-American. One of the things that Charles was referring to was a statement by Rush in which he says "I will ask you not to hang and lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer."
This is quite a show today.
JEFF BIRNBAUM, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: It's great. But I think it's even more than merely spectacle. There is real serious political liability here, especially for the Democrats. I really do think there is likely to be a vote to deny Burris the Senate seat, and Democrats will unite, and many Republicans will vote with him. But —
ANGLE: You are referring that the Senate has made clear they will not accept anyone Blagojevich appoints?
BIRNBAUM: Right. But just think of the precedent that sets. I think the Supreme Court very soon thereafter will reverse the Senate vote and say that you simply cannot turn down a duly appointed member of the Senate by a sitting governor just because you think the governor is corrupt.
ANGLE: Let me raise the statement that you are referring to from Senator Harry Reid, who is the Democratic leader in the Senate, who said today that "Anyone appointed by Governor Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois, and, as we have said, will not be seated by the democratic caucus."
Now, there is some question as to whether or not the Senate can do this, but they clearly intend to do it anyway.
BIRNBAUM: They're going to do it, and the Supreme Court is, I think, this is likely to be a very important case that will reverse it. And this will be a huge political blot for the new incoming Democratic president.
BILL SAMMON, WASHINGTON DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, FOX NEWS: I think Blagojevich, as crazy as this sounds, will prevail on both legal grounds and political grounds. This guy is crazy like a fox.
On legal grounds, the constitution only talks about blocking a senator if there is something wrong with the election, like it was a tainted election, or if the person himself being appointed had some sort of scandal. Neither of those cases apply here.
This guy — the cloud is over Blagojevich, not over Burris. And it was an appointment, not an election. So I don't think there are constitutional grounds for blocking him.
Politically it's even better for Blagojevich. One, he puts Harry Reid in the position of blocking the only black from the Senate. Two, this has to be killing Harry Reid, because this would be a Democrat. He could now have a Democrat in that seat. If this goes to an election, which this might, there is a chance a Republican could get in there.
And, finally, this guy has pretty much agreed to be a caretaker. He is 71 years old. He will be in there two years. He won't run again in 2010. He solves a lot of political problems for the Democrats, and the Democrats won't let him in.
ANGLE: Except for the Blagojevich problem.
SAMMON: Except for the Blagojevich problem, yes.
ANGLE: Now, one of the interesting things here was that a lot of people were asking why would Burris even do this? Just a few seconds left.
KRAUTHAMMER: You're 72 and you're done playing golf all the time. You want to do something. He has reached for the brass ring all his life, and he failed. A couple years in the Senate, why not?
BIRNBAUM: He's 71, and he's a registered federal lobbyist. And that's what all federal lobbyists want to do. They want to be a member of the Senate.
ANGLE: Just what President-elect Obama wanted, a lobbyist to take his position in the Senate.
All right, Israel talks about a truce in its conflict with Hamas. The U.S. wants a sustainable cease-fire. More on that with the panel after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALLAI MERIDOR, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: What would you do if it were in your own town, in your own community, and your house and school and mall were bombarded day after day?
GORDON JOHNDROE, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: We have got to get a commitment from Hamas that they would respect any cease-fire and make it lasting and durable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANGLE: "Lasting and durable" are the key words. Everyone wants an immediate cease-fire, but they also want a cease-fire that will stick, which, obviously, the last one didn't because over the last year there has been some 3,000 rockets from Hamas into Israel.
Gentlemen, there are a lot of calls today for a cease-fire- "durable and sustainable," I think, are the terms that were used, meaning Hamas abides by it as well as Israel.
What are the chances that Hamas will now accept a cease-fire, the one that Israel seems to be offering, at least a 48-hour truce for humanitarian relief and a chance for Hamas, perhaps, to rethink its future, Bill?
SAMMON: Slim to none, I think.
First of all, Hamas wants the border opened as part of this cease-fire arrangement, which, of course, that's where they're getting the rockets. They're getting the rockets in across the border, so this would give them a chance to rearm.
I honestly don't think-and I remember back a couple of years ago when the Palestinians elected Hamas in that surprise election when Hamas scored more strongly than had been expected, and the rationale was that, well, Fatah, you know, they're inefficient, they don't have city services, they're corrupt, they can't fill the pot holes, they can't pick up the garbage, they can't educate, you know, the school system. And so they went with Hamas.
This is what the Palestinian people have brought upon themselves. They have brought on death and destruction on themselves, because it's a terrorist organization. They have more than potholes to worry about now.
I think the only way this ends is when Israel reoccupies Gaza. Tzipi Livni, who is the foreign minister of Israel, who is running for prime minister in six weeks, she supported the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip, said it would decrease the violence.
Benjamin Netanyahu said just the opposite. He warned this would make matters worse. He's also running for prime minister. That's why he is ahead in the polls, because he was right and she was wrong. They are going to have to go back into Gaza.
ANGLE: If they go in on a ground offensive, that is a much trickier enterprise than just going and bombing key installations of Hamas.
BIRNBAUM: I think that we're much closer to a cease-fire now than we were yesterday or the day before. I think there is tremendous international pressure to bring about a cease-fire.
I think the moderate Arab states led by Egypt, which is blocking the main road, the border to the Gaza Strip, is under a lot of pressure, and putting pressure on Hamas to agree to some sort of cease-fire.
And I think that the Israelis are running out of targets to bomb. They call it the Gaza Strip for a reason. It's a very narrow piece of land, basically, and the last thing that Israel wants to do is to invade. I don't think they want to take back that area.
They would like at least a cease-fire on paper so that they can reorganize themselves and try to come up with a better living arrangement.
I think that we will probably see in the next few days that the violence will stop. It will not be the end of the violence between the two, between the Palestinians and Israelis, but there will be a cessation of the bloodshed we have seen.
ANGLE: Charles, it's interesting. There is one thing Bill was mentioning about other Palestinian groups. And there has been quite a bit of criticism of Hamas from newspapers and other Palestinian leaders, essentially saying that Hamas was reckless and was playing with the lives of Palestinians in its efforts to do something against Israel to show that it's a real force to be reckoned with.
KRAUTHAMMER: That's where I disagree with the assessment of the moderate Arabs or the moderate Palestinians who are trying to restrain Israel and trying to get a cessation of hostilities.
In fact, behind the scenes, moderate Arabs and Fatah, meaning the Palestinian authority, Abbas, the ones who are in favor of negotiations and a settlement, want Israel to win. There are even some reports that they are aiding and assisting the Israelis even in targeting and intelligence.
After all, Hamas are the guys who fought and killed the moderate Arabs of Fatah in Gaza in the coup of two years ago.
The problem is the Israelis. This leadership in Lebanon flinched. It accepted a peace that was not durable and secure. And even entertaining a two-day cessation of hostilities is a huge mistake which would show a collapse of will.
I'm not sure the Israelis under the leadership of Olmert are going to do anything substantial except fail.
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