Friday, January 2, 2009

The Burris Appointment

It has been mildly entertaining watching the Democrats get all crosswise over Roland Burris, appointed by Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to fill St. Barack's place in the US Senate. In the latest twist to this deliciously sordid mess: the Democrat controlled Senate is apparently going to slow-walk Burris, giving his credentials to the Senate Rules Committee (also Democrat controlled) to "review."
Probably the review will take as long as is required for the Illinois legislature to figure out how to rid the Illinois governor's mansion of the suddenly loathsome Blagojevich. Now, Blago was a perfectly okay guy with the Democrats until the US Attorney got all that vulgar audio, but that was then, and this is now. Anyway, once Blago is given the deep six, the Rules Committee (busily reviewing Burris's senatorial credentials) will, lo and behold, discover irregularities, and dear old "Senator" Burris will be on the next plane, train, or automobile back to Illinois.
The Democrats created the mess because they didn't want to give the Republicans a chance to pick up a seat in a special election. True, it would have taken legislation, but it was doable. What the Democrats want is for the seat to remain vacant until Lieutenant-Governor Pat Quinn can be popped into Blago's place, maybe next week.
Quite frankly, it's difficult to see what the Democrats are complaining about. Blago is still the Governor of Illinois, there is a vacancy in Illinois's representation to the US Senate, and the Governor, whatever we might think of him, appears to have legally appointed Mr. Burris. Mr. Burris certainly seems qualified: a former State attorney general, former State comptroller, former bank vice-president, and former candidate for Mayor of Chicago. He's certainly has as good a set of senatorial credentials as Caroline Kennedy, or for that matter, Barack Obama.
If they wanted to block Governor Blagojevich from appointing Mr. Burris, then the Democrats in Illinois should have gotten their act together and impeached him, or arranged via legislation for a special election. But they did not, and Blago did, and here we are. Mr. Burris has his appointment, and the option that involves the least violence to the Constitution would be to recognize it.
Nevertheless, it appears that Mr. Burris will not be permitted to take his seat. One wonders if the Democrats are going to take such a hard line, now, on Mr. Burris so that they might be permitted to take an easy line later on, say, Al Franken?

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