Thursday, January 8, 2009

Burris: Royal Mess

Roland Burris was elected the first African-American state attorney general in America, but since then, he has lost every office for which he’s run, and he showed absolute disdain for the U.S. Senate leadership, the Democratic Party, and the people of Illinois when he accepted Governor Rod Blagojevich's appointment to fill President-Elect Barack Obama's senate seat.

Burris knew that the Senate said it would not seat any Guv B appointment, that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (himself an African-American) said he would not certify any Guv B appointment, and that Illinois citizens overwhelmingly favor Guv B’s impeachment.

Why would Harry Reid care? He wants to keep Illinois in his column. Reid knows whoever gets the appointment now has a leg-up up for the special election nomination. And how easy is it going to be for Republicans to pick off a Governor B appointment? Unfortunately, this won’t be about truth; it will be about perception. A single anonymous donation to the Governor B legal defense fund will be spun by Republicans as a Burris supporter making good. This means the Democrats will have to mount a challenge to a “sitting” senator just to avoid that possibility.(I believe that Burris did not talk to Governor B. But SOMEBODY from the Burris camp did, I promise you). Also, I think Reid fears that at 71 years of age, Burris will not be able to sustain himself during what will be a grueling statewide race. A young, scandal-free Republican will eat Burris for lunch.

Here’s how you know I’m right in reading Reid’s motivations. He offered a compromise that in exchange for seating Burris, Burris agrees that he won’t run for the special election. This makes the age and “taint of office” problems disappear and Burris gets to play senator for a while.

Here’s the problem. Democrats won’t be able to hold the line. In fact, Diane Feinstein is now saying we have to seat him. (Of course, she is saying that. She wants to be Governor of California. She’s worried about her own appointments being undone). In addition, Reid’s own actions to protect Illinois will soon result in some disingenuous Astroturf/Rush Limbaugh-led whipsaw effect. IF they seat Burris, it will be, “Look, they seated the guy who bought the seat.” If they DON’T seat Burris, it will be, “Look, people of Illinois, Harry Reid doesn’t want you to have two senators” and “Harry Reid is a racist.”

Burris should have said, “Hell, no, I won’t go!” But Burris wanted it so badly, and he doubted Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn would appoint he lost his judgment.


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