Thursday, January 15, 2009

Burris Redux

The other day, I bashed the presumptive junior senator from Illinois, Roland Burris, for caring about little but himself. My considerations were mostly political. I disapproved of the utter contempt Burris exhibited for the Senate Democratic Leadership, and, seemingly, his entire state, in accepting the appointment of such a discredited (and now impeached) Governor.

Apparently, I'm not alone. Ruth Marcus goes at Burris in the Washington Post, noting with warranted incredulity how Burris would not answer Mika Brzezinski's very simple question -- should Guv B resign? Read this exchange:

Burris: “Well, that is not really my purview to state. He stated he's not going to resign, so therefore my comment when everybody's calling for him to resign, he's not done that. And if he -- remember now, you're innocent until you're proven guilty in our society. And based on that, I think he's making his decision based on what leverage he think he may have. But him and his problems are in no way imputed to me.”

Realizing Burris had "Palined" his answer, Brzezinski restated: “But I am wondering what your opinion is in terms of what's best for voters, for constituents? Would it be better for the state if he resigns?"

Burris: “Well, in terms of all of the consternation, I am not -- as I said, that's his choice.”

The impeachment vote was 114-1, and Roland Burris DOESN'T KNOW what needs to happen here?!? We know many politicians are power hungry, but, excluding Governor B, I struggle to think of other circumstances where one man has let his quest for personal gain so overwhelm his sensibilities. Burris is playing right into Republicans hands. The only perceivable basis that Illinois voters can conjure for NOT asking for Blagojevich's ouster at this juncture is the very quid pro quo Burris denies.

In fact, Republicans are PRAYING that Burris gets seated. This is why a conservative group, Judicial Watch, actually filed a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Senate cannot deny Burris admission. They want to feast on wounded prey.

I also predicted that Senator Reid would face a race-based backlash churned up primarily by people like Rush Limbaugh. Lo and behold, three days ago, Limbaugh actually said the following:
"Isn't it apparent to everybody by now that Harry Reid and Dick Durbin don't want an African-American in the United States Senate?"

President-Elect Obama is smart to lay low, but if I were him, I'd be having my people work overtime to find me the highest-ranking or most-highly respect African-American in Illinois to take the job to both (a) restore the integrity of the appointment; and (b) to assuage the Congressional Black Caucus, who got completely played on this deal. By backing Burris, the caucus solidified the notion this is a racial thing, even though Harry Reid said he would not seat Governor B's appointment long before they knew who it was going to be.

But Burris set the racial stage. When he went to D.C., I said I thought his goal was to create a piece of "B roll" political theater for television of himself being blocked at the door in the hopes he could conjure up images of Governor Wallace blocking the door at the University of Mississippi. I didn't know at the time that Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush had already compared the Senate opposition to Burris to Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus's opposition to Little Rock having desegregated schools.

The racial flame is being fanned, and soon the senate liberals, who excel in guilt, will give in...and guarantee the Democratic Party loses the special election.


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