I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely amazed by this Illinois senate storyline that has developed since Gov. Blagojevich was disgraced weeks ago with a federal indictment. Give the man some credit, he has chutzpah to go ahead and exercise his right as governor and to name Obama’s successor. I even felt his announcement speech of former Attorney General Roland Burris was impressive, from a political Machiavellian sense.
Senate Majority Leader Reid is in a pickle, no two ways about it. On the one hand, you have a perfectly capable individual who distinguished himself through his years of public service, fighting the corruption that tainted the man who granted him his seat that now stands in political limbo. To complicate matters, Mr. Burris is black. And he would be replacing the only black member of the greatest country club in the world. We need some color in that institution, folks! And if there’s nothing wrong with him from a mental, physical or even political perspective, then why not go ahead and seat him? If the argument is “We barely know the guy!” then please look across the Great Lakes to see a woman named Kennedy trying to ascend to a similar seat in New York…
Then there are the arguments against Mr. Burris, and boy, there are many! The most obvious is the man who selected him makes Al Capone look like a dime-store crook. The Senate leaders’ statement on the issue released on Tuesday reflects that: “This is not about Mr. Burris; it’s about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States seat.” How can any Illinois citizens (or American, for that matter), possibly respect Burris because of his enabler? Isn’t he smart enough to see this for what it is? And doesn’t he know how badly this reflects on him and the august body he wants to be a part of?
But set perceptions aside, because that’s all they are right now, the issue that most bothers me about this selection is we have yet to receive the entire story with respect to Gov. Blagojevich’s crimes. For all we know, Roland Burris was one of the names on Gov. Blagojevich’s list to offer up to the highest bidder. Can you imagine that? We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if somehow Mr. Burris were even tangentially linked to those deals. “Hot Rod” insists Mr. Burris was not part of any pay-to-play scheme, but judging the character of the individual who made that statement, that’s almost a kiss of death for Mr. Burris.