My Two Cents | Nobody’s thinking here

Talk about a political misstep. Senate Democrats are making a serious one with their handling of the Roland Burris issue.

We all know that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a snake in the grass. No arguments there, right? OK, sure, he hasn’t been convicted of it yet, but it seems clear that he tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, and it seems just as clear to me that his move to appoint Burris, a former Illinois attorney general who by all accounts is above reproach, at least by Illinois standards, is an attempt at buying, if you will, some insulation against a long prison sentence.

(The reasoning there being – hey, if I was trying to sell the seat to the highest bidder, do you think I’d have sold it to a guy whose law firm gave my campaign a paltry $14,000? C’mon, what kind of chump do you take me for? And that’s a rhetorical question – keep your snide offhand comments to yourself.)

However it has come about, Blago, under the power vested in him by the people of the state of Illinois and its state constitution, has appointed Burris to fill out the remaining two years of Obama’s term. Case closed. The decision of Senate Democrats to block him from being seated, then, is, well, I can’t say exactly what it is. I can say what it is not. Namely, politically prudent. All the talk post-election has been on how the president-elect has as his top priority the avoidance of needless distraction. And so this fits into that rubric … how, exactly?

We know how this is going to turn out, don’t we? One, Blago is going straight to, er, ahem, the afterlife aside, he’s probably on his way to a halfway house, eventually. Burris, two, is going to be seated, and no, it’s not going to be with any condition that he not seek re-election in 2010, as it appears that Senate Democratic leaders are trying to squeeze out of him. He really has no reason to have to negotiate the terms of his seating, after all. And, three, Harry Reid … well, I have to seriously question his ability to lead the party into the post-W era given this egregious misread of political common sense. I don’t know that I’m not alone in thinking that, incidentally.

Memo to my good friend Mark Warner – I told you that you should have run for governor again, but no, you wanted to change Washington. Good luck with this crowd.

 

– Column by Chris Graham


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