A Capitol Hill-type who got his start interning for Blagojevich responds to a blog post from yesterday that raised the possibility that Blago appointed Burris because Burris helped Blago win the 2002 governor's race. Blago, who had no standing in the black community at the time, won the Democratic primary only because Burris stole some of the black vote away from a man named Paul Vallas who had assiduously courted the black community.
Sorry, no. Blago's not the kind of guy who returns favors, and Burris (a man who has built a lavish monument to himself listing his accomplishments) is not the kind of guy that would do a massive favor like this and then wait around 6 years for a Senate appointment that no one could have predicted in 2002. Burris ran because he thought he could get the nomination by having Vallas and Blago split the white/downstate vote, leaving Burris with the nomination in a year with a remarkably weak Republican party and candidate.
Why has Blagojevich picked Burris now? Because he needs 19 votes from State Senators to survive impeachment. 9 State Senators are black. I think Blago's hoping they're all getting calls from community leaders asking them to stand by him since he stood by them.