Reid’s shot across Blagojevich’s bow

REID’S SHOT ACROSS BLAGOJEVICH’S BOW…. There haven’t been any reports over the last 48 hours indicating Rod Blagojevich’s intention to go ahead and fill the Senate vacancy, but just in case he’s thinking about, the Senate’s Democratic leadership wants him to understand where they’re coming from.

Senator Harry Reid is drawing a fairly bold line in the political sand in regards to the ethical missteps surrounding Rod Blagojevich.

On Wednesday, the Majority Leader and Sen. Dick Durbin drafted a letter — which they subsequently urged their Democratic colleagues to sign — that calls on the Illinois Governor to not just remove himself from office but to “under no circumstance” make a last-minute appointment to fill Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

Should Blagojevich disregard these warnings, Reid and Durbin write, the Senate would “be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated.”

The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, will be sent around to Democratic offices this afternoon. And it leaves very little wiggle room for potential signatories — you either think Blagojevich should be gone or you don’t.

The text is short on ambiguity: “We write to insist that you step down as Governor of Illinois and under no circumstance make an appointment to fill the vacant Illinois Senate seat. In light of your arrest yesterday on alleged federal corruption charges related to that Senate seat, any appointment by you would raise serious questions.”

There are still questions about how long Blagojevich can remain governor, but it now appears overwhelmingly clear that he will not fill the open Senate seat.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.