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Burris Backs Reid Into a Corner

Lost amid the scads of cameras and scrambling reporters seeking to get a glimpse or a word from former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris over the last 24 hours is one simple fact: Burris -- and, by extension, embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- have backed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) into a corner.

By keeping the highest media profile possible, Burris has made clear that he is not planning to simply step aside as the appointed senator from Illinois because of Blagojevich's problem. And, thanks to the carefully orchestrated work of surrogates like Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Burris has ensured that the racial component will play a central role in any analysis of the standoff.

The refusal to seat Burris today -- based on the fact that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White had not formally certified the appointment -- is a temporary solution at best.

If Burris, as expected, continues to assert his constitutional right to the seat, Reid will be faced with a series of difficult choices -- none of which are particularly appealing to Senate Democrats.

What are those options? The Fix asked a handful of smart political operatives to brainstorm the obvious -- and not so obvious -- ways that Reid can handle the Burris brouhaha with as little political damage as possible.

Here are their suggestions:

1. Stand firm: Reid -- as well as President-elect Barack Obama -- has repeatedly said that given the cloud around Blagojevich it would be impossible to seat anyone he appointed. Stick to your guns and show the average voter, who may be paying only passing attention to the back and forth, that things really have changed in how business is done in Washington. "The public will want some indication that the process rejected the politics of old -- disgraced politicians railroading cronies through to power, or political insiders taking over the process and railroading their own choice into office," said longtime Democratic adviser Steve Jarding. The perils of this approach? A potential constitutional fight over the legality of the Senate barring Burris from their membership (that Reid could well lose) or a daily drumbeat about how Reid is barring the lone black senator from the chamber.

2. Bow out (gracefully): The fight simply isn't worth it. Reid is better served by giving up his opposition now rather than let the Burris imbroglio bleed over into the first 100 days of the Obama Administration when the economic stimulus (among many other things) is expected to move through Capitol Hill. While Reid et al. are no doubt worried that Burris would be badly imperiled politically in 2010 due to the way he came into office, there is an argument to be made that voters have short memories and if Burris doesn't embarrass himself or his party -- neither of which is likely -- he would be in strong position to win a full term.

3. Cut a Deal: The most oft-mentioned solution to the current problem is for Reid and Burris to cut a deal that allows the latter to be seated and the former to keep his word. Among the deals floated by Fix sources: Burris agrees to serve out the remaining two years on Obama's term but not seek reelection in 2010 and Burris serves as a "shadow senator" (in the words of one Democratic operative) -- meaning he can participate in meetings and serve on committees but has no vote in the Senate; and Reid grants Burris lifetime floor privileges and lets him be sworn in and serve for a week, in exchange for his resignation.

4. Special Election: Yes, we know that Reid's opposition to a special election was the reason that the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature tabled legislation to take the appointment power out of Blagojevich's hands. But, survival in politics is about adjusting to changing circumstances and the Burris appointment certainly qualifies as changing circumstances. Presumably if Reid gave it the thumbs up, the Illinois legislature could quickly act to put a special election in place -- a solution that would make people like Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis happy. And, while there is undoubtedly some level of risk of losing the seat in a special election, one Republican operative noted: "Illinois isn't Georgia -- Democrats are likely to hold the seat, if for no other reason than to not show up the President-elect who calls that state home."

Are there options for Reid that we overlooked? The comments section awaits.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 6, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Senate  
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Comments

Rod Blagojevich may have proved his political shrewdness by appointing Roland Burris, but I think Harry Reid is a little more clever than folk here are giving him credit for.

Reid finds himself in a precarious position. If he doesn't resist Burris's appointment, the talking heads will yammer endlessly about how he didn't stand up to corruption. If he does resist Burris's appointment, the talking heads will yammer endlessly about how he's going against the Constitution. Either way, it all falls back on him come re-election time, and anybody who knows anything about politicians knows they don't like it when somebody tries to stand between them and their re-election.

So he had to make a choice: Which will reflect worse upon him and the other Democrats who take his side, appearing to go against the Constitution or appearing to not fight corruption? He eventually concluded -- as I would have -- that corruption is sexier and that more people will remember that aspect of this situation in 2010, and decided to make anti-corruption his stance.

Thing is, I'm not 100 percent convinced that Reid really has his heart set on keeping Blagojevich's pick out of the Senate. Pretty much everyone agrees he can't do that, right? I have a tough time believing he truly thought he could. If you ask me, I'd say he's doing something I see a lot in local politics: fighting something he knows he can't stop. Unless Burris decides to peter out, and it's doubtful he will, he's going to get seated eventually. So if Reid expects to get stuck with Blagojevich's pick whether he likes it or not, why not raise a stink about it? It won't make any difference in terms of who gets seated, but it will give the impression that Reid and his fellow Democrats don't take kindly to the kind of shenanigans Blagojevich has been employing.

I'm sure when the inevitable happens and Burris is seated, there will be some additional damage control on the Democratic side -- maybe, as qlangley astutely suggested, Pat Quinn will jump in and say he'd have been A-OK with Burris too. But on the whole, the situation will end with Burris being seated and the Democrats having appeared reluctant to trust anyone chosen by Blagojevich.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | January 7, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Option 3: Cut a Deal

If this happens, does that make Reid any different than Blagovich? What is Reid selling for the Senate seat?

Posted by: Verrazzano | January 7, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Chris, there is one other compromise available: get Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn to say that Burris is a fine man, and the person he would have appointed if Blagojevich had resigned after being indicted. On that basis the Senate could seat him without endorsing his selection by Blagojevich.

Posted by: qlangley | January 7, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"Mike, while I agree with your assessment of Burris, it is not at all clear that the Senate has the legal standing to declare they will not seat any Blagojevich appointee. Under IL law, the gov gets to make the appointment; Blago, like it or not, is the Gov. Burris accepted - the Senate has little recourse other than to seat Burris, who meets all the legal criteria for serving.

The politically astute thing to do is to seat Burris rather than risk losing in the courts.


Posted by: bsimon1"

Hold on friend lets not forget some important items on this issue. First, while Burris was appointed by a sitting governor, this appointment is not certified by the Illinois Secretary of State. This is a legal requirement.

Second, the U.S. Senate has some 35 rules concerning, among other things, qualifications for seating a Senator, whether elected or appointed.

In this case, Burris lack the credentials aka Bona Fides required, the signature of the Secretary of State for Illinois.

So, under the laws of Illinois and the Senate Rules, Mr. Burris is not qualified.

This is a really silly piece of political theatre.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 7, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

"Thise of you claiming that Ried has to seat burris -- Article I, Section 5. No he does not have to seat anyone the chamber decides does not fit the bill. It was done with the traitors from the South after the Civil War, wholesale. Congress refused to seat them if they had participated in the treason of waging war against the US."
___________________________

Well, things have moved on a bit since the civil war. And, no, Reid, or, rather, the Senate, can't refuse to seat Burris unless he's actually really only 18 years old or an illegal alien, i.e., unless he doesn't meet the Constitutional criteria to serve as a senator.

http://supreme.justia.com/us/395/486/case.html

But John1263 is in "good" company since Reid (and Chris) seem to hold the same opinion. John and Chris are amateurs, so their ignorance is excusable. Harry Reid's isn't. He's a senator and, ostensibly, a lawyer. Sounds like he's way behind on his CLE.

Posted by: anon99 | January 7, 2009 3:27 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what we would say if they seat him, and his voice shows up on one of Fitzgerald's tapes? Under the circumstances, Blogo shouldn't have named anybody. And what Reid said he wouldn't seat anybody named by Blogo.

Although at the end of the day... its probably more up to the state of Illinois than to the Senate Maj. Leader. Reid should stay out of it. If any federal level body need be involved, it would have to be the Supreme court really.

Posted by: dullard | January 7, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a hypocrite of the first order. Days after bemoaning the lack of a 'majority' in the Senate he kicks Lieberman and now he won't seat another Dem who doesn't agree with Pelosi/Reid spew. Where in our US Constitution does it say that you need any more than 51-votes in the Senate. Why kick out people from your party unless its not 'the big tent' ... Harry's playground for only those who agree with Harry. Shameful.

Posted by: ppoads | January 7, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Burris has come off as a fool and a crook pretending he is innocent of wrong doing in receiving his appointment. He is a loser and I think he will lose one more time, but cause a lot of damage before he goes. I don't think voters would elect him dog catcher. Surely he cannot be the only black man in Illinois who is worthy of a senate appointment. I vote a straight democratic ticket, but give me a republican before this imbecile. Even if it takes a special election I hope Reid sticks to his guns.

Posted by: txajohnson | January 6, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

This drama would not exist but for the media - this shows just how incompetent the Senate is in not 'knowing' the rules of the constitution. Senate bias rules do not count - as far as 'certification' from the Ill. Sect. of state - that's irrelevant and not a requirement of the constitution - merely fluff.

Posted by: tho1mas | January 6, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Just another example of why Reid needs to go. His handling of major issues shows he is no Tip O'Neill. Democrats need a real leader, not a wishy-washy leader who acts, then thinks.

Burris should be seated and then the issue put before the judiciary committee. How hard is that to figure out? The legalities are not complicated here, just the arrogance.

Posted by: bevjims1 | January 6, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

and Ladies and Gentlemen the winner is...

Drum roll please....drum roll tatatatatata

Gov. Rod Blagojevich!

Who laughing his a off, having changed the headlines and political dynamics 180 degrees. Two weeks ago, Blago was in the stew, now it's the Democrats in the Senate and Reid in particular, who are now frying in th pan.

Burris didn't play the race card, Blago did....and at just the right time, to save himself.

Blago is a genius. If we are going to have crooked politics anyway, may as well have the best.

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

JeffreyP wrote:

"If US Senate have no problem seating Senator Ted Stevens today then they should go ahead and seat Senator Buris. I hope we did not forget that Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) was convicted on Federal corruption charges back in October 2008 "

Jeffrey might want to check the Alaskan Senate Race results. Stevens lost to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Begich was the Alaskan Senator seated today, not Ted Stevens.

Posted by: WorkatHomeGuy | January 6, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

JeffreyP, I suppose that Mr. Stevens gets special consideration by virtue of the fact that he was actually elected by voters, unlike Mr. Burris, who was appointed by a probable felon. YMMV.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris as if the Senate Democratic ingrates don't have enough to worry about concerning work on the stimulus package and the partisan fights that are sure to come from the enormity of the bill,they're bent on being bogged down w/ the Burris appointment process. A lawful appointment at that. I believe in time Harry Reid will regret sticking his proverbial foot in mouth on this one. Senator Burris is emerging w/ a fighter's posture that'll serve him well in the coming months and will be sorely needed by the Senate Dems in up coming battles w/ their Republican counterparts. Now would be the time for the self-styled trial lawyer,so Harry calls himself to take a page out of Kenny Rodgers' gamblers' anthem,"know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em. This is a hand Reid should throw in and get out of the way before he loses all credibility as an effective senatorial leader. Harry time is not on your side and the clock is ticking; tick tock!

Posted by: michaelsc1954 | January 6, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

If US Senate have no problem seating Senator Ted Stevens today then they should go ahead and seat Senator Buris. I hope we did not forget that Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska) was convicted on Federal corruption charges back in October 2008

Posted by: JeffreyP | January 6, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe wrote, "Case closed."

How so?

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

We were questioned about the credentials of Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who wrote today in an LA Times op-ed that there is absolutely no legal justification for Reid's refusal to seat Burris to the Senate seat to which he was legally appointed, a fact later acknowledged by Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Rules Committee. Reid's dislike of Blago or Burris's "demographic" is not a valid reason to block Burris.

From Wikipedia: "Erwin Chemerinsky (born May 14, 1953) is an American lawyer and law professor. He is a renowned scholar in United States constitutional law and federal civil procedure. He is the current and founding dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, which is scheduled to begin classes in the fall semester of 2009."

Case closed.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it would look too corrupt (despite it being pretty typical, and reasonable, in politics) for Reid to offer to back him for the LG's appointment or next election if he backs down now. And say, he's a fine candidate, and a good man, who has agreed to step down until the matter can be decided in good faith for the people of Illinois. Plus, if he's accepted the offer, he's probably drank too much Blago koolaid to go for this. But normally, this is what you do to get a candidate to back down in a primary or something for the good of the party, right?

Posted by: cprach | January 6, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Since the governor of Illinois has not yet been removed from office by the impeachment process and refuses to resign, Burris probably should be allowed his Senate seat. Look at recent presidents, including Reagan, Clinton and Bush II, who did worse than what the governor is accused, such as violations of laws passed by Congress, their oath of office, and the Constitution, and got away with it.

The voters of Illinois can decide in less than two years whether Burris should have a longer stay as one of their two Senators.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | January 6, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Kinda tough to bash Reid or any senate Dems who are standing firm against Blagovich appointments. ITs the Dems integirty and public opinion to lose. The GOP is UNDER the doghouse right now. This is a non-starter. Democrats seem committed to cleaning their own house and Blagovich will be the first trash they take out.

The timing is unfortunate for Burris, but he is still successful and should do well in a legitamate run for the senate seat.

Posted by: free-donny | January 6, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Knocked it out of the park, concerned3! Actually, the others you mentioned are far less qualified (e.g., the DE guy is a basically a Biden family retainer and Mrs. Schlossberg, well, uh, you know); Burris a practicing lawyer who served for many years as state attorney general and comptroller. This Burris mess smells to holy heck. Great post, C3...
___________________________

For Broadwayjoe and Anon99,

First keep the following in mine when judging Sen. Reid's motive. Check this out, the other three governors who have made senatorial appointments have done the following:

Delaware (Kaufman, 69, former chief of staff to Biden, absolutely no experience as a legislator or an elected official admits to having no interest whatsoever on running for the seat in two years in other words he is an appointed caretaker with full voting privileges as a current US senator);

NY (all the smart money is on Caroline Kennedy; however again no legislator experience and have never even ran for public office and her claim to seat reeks of aristocatic aspirations--in other words I'm a freakin' Kennedy so give me the darn seat. I have never hear a mumbling word from Caroline on any issue of substance. Have any on you?

Colorado (William Bennett, a surprise pick to everyone, again no legislator experience and no elective office or campaign experience whatsoever. Bennett is school chief in Denver.

Now here is my point, these individuals have far less qualifications to serve in the U.S. Senate than Burris. Might I also add most of them have less qualifications than me to serve in the Senate but that's another issue (smile). Sen. Reid spoke in glowing terms of each of these candidates on Meet the Press. Again none of them can claim a qualification beyond their white privilege and their closeness to the appointed governor. So I have no doubt if the Gov Blago of IL had chosen Att. Gen. Madigan or Vet. Affairs Duckworth (granted if neither were Candidate 5) instead of being greeted by the Sergeant of Arms of the Senate, they would have been greeted by the sheepish grin of U.S. Senator Harry Reid. Reconstruction lives!

Posted by: Concerned3 | January 6, 2009 9:20 PM

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Just let Burris in, he is not that bad

Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 6, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe wrote, "Professor Erwin Chemerinsky is the nation's leading authority in this area."

I have searched the U.S. Constitution for references to "leading authorities" and alas I have come up empty.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Professor Erwin Chemerinsky is the nation's leading authority in this area. In the LA Times (link below), he explains, under the law, this is not a close call at all: Burris MUST be seated. Period. The idea Burris must negotiate with Reid to take a Senate seat he's already been validly appointed to is offensive beyond belief. Where's Reid been since Brown v. Board of Education???? Burris gets to be seated and gets to use the bathroom and the cafeteria. And he doesn't have to cast his eyes down while walking. Times have changed, Harry.

Chemerinsky's oped:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-chemerinsky6-2009jan06,0,5345460.story

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Burris bugs me. His appointment is the only way for him to get back into politics. Seems dirty to me. I don't trust him.

Posted by: biggirl90 | January 6, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a disgrace to the office of Senator. Blagoyevich, almot certainly a crook, is innocent until proven guilty and he has the right to make an appointment that otherwise appears to be scandal free.

This is Hope and Change!!

Posted by: georgegjones | January 6, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

For Broadwayjoe and Anon99,

First keep the following in mine when judging Sen. Reid's motive. Check this out, the other three governors who have made senatorial appointments have done the following:

Delaware (Kaufman, 69, former chief of staff to Biden, absolutely no experience as a legislator or an elected official admits to having no interest whatsoever on running for the seat in two years in other words he is an appointed caretaker with full voting privileges as a current US senator);

NY (all the smart money is on Caroline Kennedy; however again no legislator experience and have never even ran for public office and her claim to seat reeks of aristocatic aspirations--in other words I'm a freakin' Kennedy so give me the darn seat. I have never hear a mumbling word from Caroline on any issue of substance. Have any on you?

Colorado (William Bennett, a surprise pick to everyone, again no legislator experience and no elective office or campaign experience whatsoever. Bennett is school chief in Denver.

Now here is my point, these individuals have far less qualifications to serve in the U.S. Senate than Burris. Might I also add most of them have less qualifications than me to serve in the Senate but that's another issue (smile). Sen. Reid spoke in glowing terms of each of these candidates on Meet the Press. Again none of them can claim a qualification beyond their white privilege and their closeness to the appointed governor. So I have no doubt if the Gov Blago of IL had chosen Att. Gen. Madigan or Vet. Affairs Duckworth (granted if neither were Candidate 5) instead of being greeted by the Sergeant of Arms of the Senate, they would have been greeted by the sheepish grin of U.S. Senator Harry Reid. Reconstruction lives!

Posted by: Concerned3 | January 6, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

No body said it was going to be easy. We came hard, hands with brooken nail, feet that cracked, but we came. Now when half our gene speaks for all of us,,the 20% still hugs the money!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

After years of a Republican Congress that violates congressional procedural rules and a President who violates citizens' privacy, I had hoped that the Democratic leadership would return us to honoring the laws upon which this country was founded.

As pointed out by other readers, the Illinois Sec. of State has no discretion and must certify Burris. Blagojevich, while caught with his hand in the cookie jar, is entitled to a jury and is presumed innocent until adjudged otherwise. There are no shortcuts for the justice system, nor should there be. Reid should honor the laws, or resign.

Posted by: asher67 | January 6, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Burris is almost uniquely qualified to be a Senator, having been attorney general of a very large state. Only a high level federal judge or state supreme court justice can claim greater understanding of the foibles and excellencies of legislative proposals. By contrast, someone whose sole qualification is the presence of offspring who play soccer is no more able than my mother, who has the same credentials. Blogojevich will likely be imprisoned; until impeached he is Illinois' governer. No Blogojevich crime affects Burris' ability to be a senator. Bowing out gracefully would be fully accepted within three months; fighting this excellent appointment would yield a Supreme Court decision favoring Burris, who would then likely join the Republican party.

Posted by: Martial | January 6, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I *LOVE* it when the race card is thrown back in the Dems' faces!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty

--------------------

Ahh, Republicans. They're so competent when they govern, and so likeable when they get nasty when they lose. Don't you just wish all your neighbors were Republicans?

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read all of these comments, but how quickly would all of these naysayers be if Blagohevich had appointed himself. Would they be as demanding his being seated?

Posted by: joeullom | January 6, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Thise of you claiming that Ried has to seat burris -- Article I, Section 5. No he does not have to seat anyone the chamber decides does not fit the bill. It was done with the traitors from the South after the Civil War, wholesale. Congress refused to seat them if they had participated in the treason of waging war against the US.

Posted by: John1263 | January 6, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Samson151 asked, "What's Burris really up to?"

Being a human being with an ego. He thinks he's walking beside Abraham Martin and John, and doesn't realize what's stuck to the sole of his shoe.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

burris proved today that he would be a crappy senator. This is simply not the way the senate does business, and him making enemies of his entire caucus before even getting into the room will make him less effective than a bush in a hurricane.

If burris were really of senate caliber he would have politely told blago that he was pleased with the nomination, but could not accept it unless blago resigned and made arrangments for the nomination to come from an untainted source. His nomination as it stands does not meet the legal criteria for seating him and he knows that. He knew befroe he left Chicago that he was not going to be allowed into the senate chambers. If he is such an a hol that he willfully makes such a unecessary public imbroglio as the new president and congress are facing such a critical juncture for the nation and the world he does not deserve to be there. Period. Illinois leg. needs to step it up and remove blago, get a real replacement, and be done with it.

Posted by: John1263 | January 6, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Where is outrage over responsibility for the recession now that facts are clear in the rearview mirror?

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2009/01/democrat-responsibility-for-economic.html

It was evident then, it is even more evident now. Yet no feet are being held to the fire. Madoff arrived just in time to take the brunt of it.

Posted by: JamesRaider | January 6, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there is another solution: kick it back to the Illinois legislature. Its doubtful they would refuse and if the appointment really is clean, the nominee shouldn't object either.

The legislature is already investigating the Governor for impeachment. Ask them to put this issue at the head of the line for investigation and then, with the information gained, ask the General Assembly (or just the Illinois Senate) to "confirm" the nomination by passing a resolution. Most Gubernatorial appointments are already subject to confirmation by the Illinois Senate so there is already a process in place for considering nominations.

This would also allow a sort of investigation into the circumstances of the appointment to be considered by the representatives of the people of Illinois who, after all, are the people most directly affected by this issue (and the loss of representation in the United States Senate during an important legislative period).

As importantly, because this work would be done by the elected representatives of the people of Illinois, confirmation by the Illinois Senate (or General Assembly) gives the appointment a sort of democratic imprimatur to the appointment in the same way that it does for other appointments (admittedly positions that usually are not subject to elections, but let's remember that Gerald Ford became Veep and eventually President because we consider confirmation by the democratically-elected legislature an adequate substitute in certain circumstances).

Having the Illinois legislature look into the issue and "confirm" the appointment (and if the U.S. Senate accepts the "confirmation") could give everyone a way to resolve this matter without the time and expense of otherwise certain litigation and the expense and delay of of a special election. It also moves the issue from the already crowded U.S. Senate agenda to the Illinois legislature that represents the people of Illinois. If that body investigates and "confirms" that the appointment is legitimate, there is every reason to expect the Senate could accept that judgment.

In short, this option provides for a quicker, less expensive resolution to the problem, preserves the prerogatives of the U.S. Senate, and provides a measure of democratic input into the potential seating of a Senator from Illinois.

Posted by: TomInChicago1 | January 6, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd be interested in some answers to questions like:

1. What's Burris really up to? What's he hope to gain? Oh please, don't start with that dedicated public servant crap...

2. Or failing that, who's he trying to screw? I thought he liked Obama. I can't imagine he likes Blago. Is there a payback angle I can't see?

3. Who is Roland Burris? A nice man, the pundits say, a career public servant type, at one time close to the estimable Jesse Jackson.

4. Is this a race thing? Is it true that, as Wiki claims, that "in 1998, Burris caused a controversy by referring to his Democratic primary opponents — Jim Burns, Glenn Poshard... and John Schmidt — as "nonqualified white boys."[9]. Be hard to believe, but stranger things have happened...

I guess it comes down to: what's the point of all this?


He ran in the primaries for Goober, what, 3 times, and lost? Plus once for Mayor

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

If The Senate were to acquiesce in the seating of Burris or ANYONE appointed by Blago The Republicans would spend at least the next two years yammering 24/7 about evil conspiracies involving a tainted senator. This would occur day in and day out and the media would cover it like the fog.

Demands for probes would be unrelenting along with the wildest of accusations.

This circus would give the Republicans a chance to plant, nurture and grow the seeds of suspicion about Obama, a course of action they currently are unable to follow.

They would treat it like a latter day Monica Lewinsky scandal, at least unless and until something better came along.

Reid is wise to take the course he has. As for the tired, worn out racial charges of Bobby Rush they sound like echoes from the 60s.

I am guessing the public which haas just elected a black president, will not buy them.

David A. Jewell
Philadelphia

Posted by: dajewell | January 6, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

The rules say the governor appoints the replacement, so he did. Just because in America a politician is guilty of any and everything he is accused of in the public eye, doesn't mean he is, and it certainly doesn't mean a good man like Mr. Burris is guilty by association. This is a ridiculous situation and should have ended today.

And sorry to have to point this out, but the man's name is Blagojevich, not Blago. Blago is insulting to people of Serbian descent, so please try to be civilized. Thank you.

Posted by: nmoses | January 6, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Concerned3, thanks for the knowledge re Feinstein's support of Burris. Hadn't heard that. Wonder whether O, when talking to her recently about Panetta, put a bug in her ear about putting an end to this Burris/Reid mess?

Riddle me this: If Blags had picked say a, uh, pale former judge to fill out O's term, would Reid have had the judge jacked-up at the Senate door? We didn't buy into Bobby Rush's race card initially but now, unfortunately, it seems as though Blags probably clued Rush into the real reason why Reid was so determined not to seat Burris. Let's hope Di-Fi's intervention ends this.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

EliPeyton

Along came a spider
sat down beside her
and drove Ms Muffet away

from a nuusery, circa 1942

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

It amazes me that supposedly astute politicians like the Illinois Secretary of State and Harry Reid can be so completely clueless. Certifying the governor's choice for the Senate is purely ministerial. The Sec. of State has no discretion. Jesse White can't refuse to certify Blagovich's choice for the Senate any more than he can refuse to certify an election result he doesn't like.

By the same token, Harry Reid can't refuse to seat Blagovich's choice. It's not up to him. Even if Blagovich is eventually impeached, his appointment of Burris is still legal. Reid is in no position to "cut a deal," much less refuse to seat Burris. He can give him crappy committees if he wants, but that's something else entirely.

How can these politicians who are, God help us, state and national leaders, no less, not realize all this? It is extremely disturbing that people tasked with crafting extremely complex and important legislation are apparently incapable of understanding some of the most basic legal concepts.

Posted by: anon99 | January 6, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Reid continues to prove he is, completely, ineffective. Seat Burris. We from Chicago know him well. No problemo. Obama has made his first mistake by getting involved in a possible court issue. Of all the dumb things the Dems continue to show, especially dumber Durbin, our other fool senator, who pleads to relase the previous convicted Republican governor to be released from jail for selling illegal licenses as Sec. of State resulting in the death of many children, that they are not about helping the people but playing politics. Most Republicans are horrible but the Dems shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. Lucy's (Charlie Brown) football never got so many uses.

Posted by: crrobin | January 6, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Stevens, a convict felon still senator, received a standing ovation by his colleagues and will retire with full pension and benefits. Why not seat Burris? The "august' senate is bunch of dung any way.

Posted by: blueyes1 | January 6, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

This just makes me angry. The Illinois legislature didn't choose to do an open election - obviously fearful of a Republician selection, losing the seat from the greedy democrats - so Gov. Blago followed lawful procedure in his current authority as Govenor and appointed Mr. Burris as the Junior Senator. He is a respectable, qualified man and I think for all the brouhaha about racism in Obama's election, this truly is a racist move on Reid's end and Mr. Burris should be seated immediately.

Posted by: washingtonpost34 | January 6, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

What Burris will find out after his atempt to "MOVE UPTOWN" is he's lost his "DOWNTOWN" space. What a jerk!
Hey Gov Palin,,how's the price of oil these days? YOU BETCHA!
The NEOCONS use dummies like Bush and Palin like toilet paper.

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Harry, Harry quite contrary,
How do your problems grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And ugly Pelosi all in a row.

Posted by: EliPeyton | January 6, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Race Card!!!

This is what Burris played when he gave his acceptance speech. This is what he has used to get his some lucrative contracts in Illinois. This is all he knows.

Posted by: txengr | January 6, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The Guy has accepted a "NO SALE" seat.
IT'S POLITICAL SUICIDE! Burris is a Moron! We've had eight years of morons. Enough is ENOUGH!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Mudbone wrote:

"Pardon my last post but certain FAT WHITE PIGS get me very angry, what I meant to post was:

"Cillizza needs an Eneama! Thru his friggin nostrils! If this Fat Pig ever claims "I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB" I hope the spit his greasy body is burning over get another turn on the stick!"

--------------------

I guess the lesbians finally got to him too.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Pardon my last post but certain FAT WHITE PIGS get me very angry, what I meant to post was:

Cillizza needs an Eneama! Thru his friggin nostrils! If this Fat Pig ever claims "I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB" I hope the spit his greasy body is burning over get another turn on the stick!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

The stupid mofo should have been shining shoes while he waited to be seated.

Posted by: wangbang747 | January 6, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza neaeeds an Eneama!

Posted by: mudbone | January 6, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's not be stupid here. Reid and Durbin should abide by the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois. Burris must be seated now. The specaticle is all on the racists Senate Democratic Leaders (e.g. Jesse, Jr., Danny K. Davis, Emil Jones are not acceptable, but Madigan and Tami Duckworth are okay). There is no Constituional basis for what happened today. The Sec. of State of Illinois role in this matter perfunctory. The Secretary of the Senate had absoulutely no Constitutional basis for denying Burris' credentials.

Furthermore, Sen. Diane Fienstein, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, has appropriately stated that the rules committee determines the fitness of its members to serve. Sen. Feinstein stated that Burris is fit and must be seated. The Democratic leaders of the Senate have harkened back to the days of Reconstruction in using ploys, scheme and circus moves to deny Blacks seats in the Congress.

By the way what in the heck is the basis for any of your suggestion Chris. It is appears that you got them out of whole cloth. Give us a break!

Posted by: Concerned3 | January 6, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Malis, in support of your important ongoing work, I have re-posted your incredible analysis in the Strange Case of 37andO. It would appear that, in this string, "the subject" has provided additional data for you and we welcome your updated take on it. Thanks. Broadway
__________
From Malis:

"Update: A Study on Motivation and Societal Impact of the Extremist-Obsessive Blog Poster
Subject: “37th” (shortname for subject using approximately 20 different variations of a userID containing the root phrase “37thandO”)

Subject’s postings (through Jan 2, 4:56pET) to the string “Best House Campaigns of 2008” were previously collected and classified in four defined categories. This entry appends subject’s additional posting.

As of Jan 3 10:17aET, 37th owned 14 (+3) of 64 (+6) total entries, raising the subject’s percentage of total postings to this string from 19% to 22%.

Number and percentage of on-topic postings: 0 and 0%

1) Simplistic insult of individuals and groups: 22 (+2)
2) Paranoiac accusations: 6 (+1)
3) Rote repetition of fantasy scenarios 19 (+4)
4) Projection (accusing others of behavior exhibited by the subject) 9 (+2)

Subject has initiated posting to two additional strings. Data currently being collected and analyzed. When sufficient data has been collected results will be posted to those strings.


Posted by: malis | January 3, 2009 2:30 PM"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Burris is a loyal Democrat. No one is questioning his integrity. Other Senators have joined the body under similarly inauspicious circumstances (Landslide Lyndon). Why not seat him and be done with this circus?

Posted by: jlamountain | January 6, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Reid should resign. He has lost it, if there was any doubt Ms. Fienstein, for whatever reason has set the record STRAIGHT. Seat the man he will without a doubt be the least corrupt SENATOR on board.

Poor Jesse White, he has allowed himself to be USED by the good ole boys. Obama should have stuck to his initial statement,"that is the Governor's decision." Is Blagojevich not the Governor of Illinois? Is Patterson not the Governor of New York. As Governors they are charged with the responsiblity of making APPOINTMENTS when required by LAW.

Reid and Obama should make a Public apology to Mr. Burris.

We should have more Senators like Mr. Burris, he owes nothing to anyone or anybody how many SENATORS have we had it the last 250 YEARS that CLEAN!!!!!

Reid go home. You are now a hinderance to our nation's attempt to solve REAL PROBLEMS.

Posted by: msgbill | January 6, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

What a lovely way to start the Obama era.

Posted by: kenpasadena | January 6, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The real controversy and study should be about Al Franken's "victory" not the per se legal appointment of Burris. By the way, the ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE ACTED UNETHICALLY BY REFUSING TO SIGN THE APPOINTMENT BOTH BECAUSE OF A STATUTORY DUTY TO DO SO -- NO DISCRETION -- AND BECAUSE AS A RESULT OF HIS EARLIER BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE POSITION HE HAS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST REQUIRING RECUSAL. FOR ALL THE SMART GUYS IN DC and the MEDIA, NO ONE HAS PICKED UP ON THIS. ASSUMING A REPLACEMENT WITHOUT A CONFLICT SIGNED, BURIS HAS TO TO BE RECOGNIZED.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | January 6, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a racist. No blacks in the Senate. Reid is the leader of the Senate.

Posted by: edgar_sousa | January 6, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would question anybody's ethics. If what Bush did concerning torture, eavesdropping, lying to the public about the war, and WMD is illegal, then Pelosi and Reid are at least guilty of aiding and abetting. Both should be impeached.

Posted by: msmart2 | January 6, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Chris, the problem with your analysis is it is based on the opinions of "political operatives." This time the bloviators do not matter; they don't count.

This is a pure LEGAL issue and no legal scholar (applying legal rather than political analysis) seriously disputes that 1) the IL Secretary of State is required to certify Burris (the SoS has no discretion whatsoever in the matter) under IL law and 2) based on the Adam Clayton Powell Supreme Court case, the U.S. Senate cannot refuse to seat Burris unless he has failed to meet the requirements set out in the Constitution (age, citizenship, etc.).

Reid can't legally deny Burris the seat simply because he dislikes Blago, or the way he operates, or because Blago has been charged with (but, importantly, not convicted of) a crime. The fact that, according to the Chicago Sun-Times article, Reid, well before Blags' arrest, told Blags he (Reid) didn't want an AA in O's vacant seat makes all this even more unseemly. Burris is a 71-year-old, squeaky clean, respected former state atty. general and comptroller who is no less qualified than anyone now in the Senate.

The physical confrontation with Burris today, preventing him from entering the Senate, made Reid look like Faubus, Wallace, or Bull Connor, take your pick. Ugly stuff.

Reid: Seat Burris and get back to the people's business! Jacking-up 71-year-old incoming senators at the Senate door is not the people's business.

Professor Erwin Chemerinsky's excellent LA Times op-ed on this topic is must reading for those looking for a legal analysis of the Burris matter. As he explains, under the law, it is not a close call at all. Burris must be seated.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-chemerinsky6-2009jan06,0,5345460.story

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 6, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

The person who should not be seated is Harry Reid(DINO).

He is nothing but an enabler of the worst administration ever, a member of the Military Industrial Complex and a DINO-Fascist.

WaPo says, '3. Cut a Deal: The most oft-mentioned solution to the current problem...'

That's called "quid pro quo". It's the same thing that Blago is getting accused of, which is also called bribery.

Oh, the hypocrisy!

Posted by: kevinschmidt | January 6, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Surely somewhere there's an instruction manual, in .pdf format, for people appointed to high office by shysters.

The manual for my kerosene heater, for instance, has a "Troubleshooting Guide" at

http://www.yourheater.com/DH-2304(Eng).pdf

and after walking you through "heater will not light", "heater produces smoke or odor", "flame flickers or dies", "wick burning down excessively", "wick adjuster sticks", and "wick will not raise", on page 15 the next entry is the somewhat alarming

"Heater is engulfed in flames". The advice proffered is "Call the fire department".

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

This black man IS the senator and runs circles around Nancy Reid's ethics any day. Making him a back-of-the-bus senator (Option 3) is so weird I can't believe anyone suggested it. Just seat the guy and get over it

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 6, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Reid, give up. You were outmaneuvered by Blago and now you gotta move along and let it go. There is no evidence that there is anything wrong with Burris, if the Lt. Governor had made it the appointment there would be no problem. The odds of a Republican picking up the seat are just the price you pay for having Obama in the White House. The more you draw attention to it the more it highlights that things have not changed in Washington. Come out after your meeting with Burris and say you are confident in his ethics, and that he is not tainted by the Blago business. His appointment was legal. Get behind Burris, publicly ask White to sign the paperwork to satisfy the Senate Secretary, and let Burris get to work. Give a little speech about how this is a useless waste of time and the taint is unfortunate, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Burris and there are things that are too important to waste time with this. The public will forget. Everyday this is in the news, everday the public gets a lower impression of politicians.

Posted by: amypelican | January 6, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

How about requesting a declaration from the FBI prosecutor of Blag that there is no evidence that Blag received any favors from Burris for the appointment. Then Reid and Illinois certifying officer could back off and allow nomination to proceed.

Posted by: Otsquago | January 6, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we know that Reid's opposition to a special election was the reason that the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature tabled legislation to take the appointment power out of Blagojevich's hands.
.
Chris, I hadn't heard this before. Why aren't we hearing more about this self-inflicted wound by Reid and the Democratic leadership? The Illinois legislature could have taken this out of Blago's hands but didn't because Reid was afraid he might lose a Democratic seat in a special election.

Posted by: doc75 | January 6, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I *LOVE* it when the race card is thrown back in the Dems' faces!

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 6, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It should be noted that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, the key logistical barrier to the legitimacy of Burris' appointment, is black. He has, in fact, been working on behalf of black inner city children and teenagers for something like fifty years now. This isn't Alan Keyes we're talking about. If Reid can keep passing the buck to White, it's going to be hard to keep blaming the whole debacle on race when Jesse White is made into Burris' chief opponent.

Posted by: silentholden | January 6, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

The federal attorneys are in an excellent position to advise Reid if there was any illegal bargaining related to the selection. They have all the wiretaps in place to determine if this was a clean or dirty selection.

If it's not considered illegal by the federal attorneys then the Senate should just go along with the selection and let the voters decide who goes to Washington after the 2010 election.

I believe that the Senate has more important tasks on their plate - they don't need to spend time on this issue. Let the prosecutors do their thing and let the Senate get busy with a stimulus program.

Posted by: KHMJr | January 6, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

poor Harry, he thought he could sell Blago down the river to the Republicans, and now he has to eat his words..........Burris is a good guy, good politician,
and a good vote getter.

Harry never changes, always has the knife out for a friend.
but kisses up to Lieberman.

Posted by: kennytal | January 6, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

If there wasn't any quid pro quo involved, then there really isn't any ethical taint to Blagojevich's nomination of Burris as such, and he should be allowed to take the seat according to the IL Constitution. The US Senate could deny him his seat, but that would probably cause even more political distraction in a time of crisis.

I think the idea of Blago being able to nominate Obama's successor after blatantly trying to auction the seat makes most people sick to their stomachs. This is a situation faced from time to time in any country governed by laws: sometimes the lawful decision is one that doesn't feel like the right one. These situations are good, because they often motivate legislatures to change the laws, allowing them to evolve. I wouldn't be surprised if Illinois or the US passes laws that expedite impeachment in case of federal indictment, for example, and that would be a good thing. But as it stands, Blagojevich has the right to appoint the Senator, so long as he is not compensated for the appointment.

Posted by: zpthomas | January 6, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

With Senator Feinstein breaking with the
other appointed Democratic Senator, "Let Burris be seated", is now the front leader to replace Reid. A civil coup is in the making. Good for her. Better for Burris.

Posted by: whatahoot | January 6, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse


A Bad Guy appointed a Good Guy to a High Position, does that make the Good Guy Bad?

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I would say Burris is much more qualified to be a Senator than Caroline Kennedy.

Posted by: brewstercounty | January 6, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nashpaul | January 6, 2009 6:48 PM
Burris's being rejected has nothing to do with his race, but by the scumitude of the Governor. And there should be a bunch of prominent African-Americans saying that from the rooftops.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. Burris will be seated and Reid will have been diminished by his "high moral ground".

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

If Blago of Illinois is facing felony charges as US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has made, Fitzgerald has to prove it. Otherwise, Blago has not done a thing except talk like a pol; he can appoint who he wishes. What has Blago been convicted of? Bullsh...ing?

Posted by: dudh | January 6, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"thanks to the carefully orchestrated work of surrogates like Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Burris has ensured that the racial component will play a central role in any analysis of the standoff."

Blagojevich stoops to pour salt in the nation's sorest wound in the belief that it might help him. I believe he is a sociopath in the literal sense of that term.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 6, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The Lady falls on the sword for the ONE to have a happy inaug day....Breaking news...
AP reports...but the Democrats' opposition cracked when a key chairwoman said seating him was simply the legal thing to do.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein rejected the reasoning that all of the chamber's Democrats, herself included, had cited in a letter last week — that corruption charges against Burris' patron, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, tainted his appointment.

Posted by: whatahoot | January 6, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Dear readers - and Chris, of course,

Here is my unvarnished comment, based on a question...

If someone of great authority and questionable character handed you a US Senate seat on a platter, what would you do? ......
==================
This Burris fellow sucks wind. I don't care about his color. And his goofy cohort in Congress is trying good 'ole, BS, Richard Daley-style politics on the Senate and, by extension, the American people.

I think Reid should tell them to suck wind, do nothing, and tell the Illinois Senate to get off their collective a$$ and remove this clown with the ridiculous hair.

This is Illinois' problem, not the Senate's, and it should be solved there! We have more important things to do than fill a seat from a state which can't control its governor!

Posted by: expat2MEX | January 6, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Reid would be well served by finding a bunch of prominent (and uninvolved) African-American politicians to call Burris and Rush on the mat for playing the race card.

Burris's being rejected has nothing to do with his race, but by the scumitude of the Governor. And there should be a bunch of prominent African-Americans saying that from the rooftops.

Posted by: nashpaul | January 6, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The best solution is for Reid to retreat. His attempted to stake out a high-minded position has dissolved in grandstanding and political circus. At a time of economic peril, this kind of gamesmanship is the last thing Reid should be seen doing.

Reid is overlooking an important legal if not constitutional issue: Governor Blagojevich has been accused of crimes but he has NOT been indicted and he has NOT had his day in court. Reid and a lot of other folks are declaring the Governor guilty before he has a chance to prove his innocence. The Governor may well be guilty but that is a decision to made by a judge or jury and not by Senator Reid or any one else.

There is no indication that Mr. Burris has done anything wrong. Therefore, the attempt to bar him from the Senate is nothing more than guilt by association.

Senator Reid and his associates in the Senate need to stand back on this matter in order to avoid further embarrassment.

It is time to get on with the people's business.
The Gove

Posted by: pbarnett52 | January 6, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a mess and he is dragging down his party position with this dumb stance. And, Obama supported Reid!! This whole Democrat mess is second grade at best!!

Posted by: jjcrocket | January 6, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

//

Hence your expertise, jj.

Posted by: Attucks | January 6, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse


Remember....

-The Illinois Legislature has NOT impeached Blago.

-He still signs all state laws and has ALL powwers of Governor of Illinois.

-The Illinois Supreme Court REJECTED a request from the Illinois Attornet General to remove him.

The Burris Appointment (while a political ploy by Blago) IS LEGAL in every way.

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Roland Burris was legally appointed by the legally elected Governor of Illinois. Why are all the other duties of this Governor being carried out with out any concern from anyone? That Senate seat is the only concern of the so called Democratic Leadership. I strongly Disapprove of what Reid is doing to prevent a Good Democrat from being seated in this 111th Congress. Reid is demonstrating no respect for the Rights of the People of Illinois to have full Senate representation. What is the real reason fellow Democrats are blocking this appointment? You cant just block based on a Criminal complaint that's not due process. Many of these so called Democrats are just undercover Republicans who selectively obey the law. Blocking Burris is just another waist of Tax Dollars on petty Politics.

Posted by: gpitts7 | January 6, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You missed the best possibility for Reid: Do nothing and encourage impeachment proceedings to begin. When impeached, work with the new governor to nullify the appointment and get a new one. This makes the most sense for everyone in the Senate, and it puts the spotlight back in Illinois, where it belongs!

Posted by: expat2MEX | January 6, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at all the talk of an all-white senate. The only reason its all white is because we made the only black member president! Clever the way us racists got rid of "that one". I can't believe less than 2 months after the election we are back to viewing these things through the warped prism of ethnic identity politics.

Posted by: dullard | January 6, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"so on the first day of the new Senate, instead of crowing about a big majority or a new legislative agenda, the Lib leader creates a tempest of his own choosing and shines a light on the utter bone-deep corruption of his entire party, but especially the home state and petri dish the new president crawled out of.

that is Dem leadership in a nutshell."


You may not be very diplomatic,
but buddy boy.....You get it!

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

This is not a black or white issue, it's about right and wrong. Blagojevich was well w/in his position as the Govenor to appoint Burris to the Senate seat. If HReid and the other Dems want to express their disdain for Blagojevich, go after him. By denying Burris the Senate seat, these misguided and confused idiots are punishing the wrong Man. Judge Burris on his own merits. The Dems are violating the very laws they took an oath to uphold. I'm sick of the whole thing!

Posted by: gwill | January 6, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

It's very simple: Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat. Harry Reid said that the Senate would not seat anyone Blago appointed, AND HAS THE LEGAL RIGHT TO DO THIS. Senate appointments must be certified by the Secretary of State. Illinois' Secretary of State refused to certify Burris' appointment.
*********

politics doesnt matter, the law does.

and you're right, the LAW is simple: under marbury v. madison the appointment has already been made. in other words, there is no vacancy. the senate has no legal authority to reject burris, unless they judge him to be under the qualifying age or a U.S. for an insufficient duration of time. moreover, impeaching blagoevich wont matter.

Posted by: dummypants | January 6, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Barring Burris was the right thing to do but reflects on Blagojevich, not Burris.

Posted by: AlanBrowne | January 6, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

so on the first day of the new Senate, instead of crowing about a big majority or a new legislative agenda, the Lib leader creates a tempest of his own choosing and shines a light on the utter bone-deep corruption of his entire party, but especially the home state and petri dish the new president crawled out of.

that is Dem leadership in a nutshell. Look for more of the same for the next two years, until the gullible voters wake up and see the damage they have wrought trusting these crooks.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse


Isn't it ironical Reid is fighting so hard against Burris when he would not fight the Repubs at all.
Seems he has more gumption when it's his own party he is fighting.
What a Wussy?

Posted by: bnw173 | January 6, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

By the way, zouk, that's not a W. C. Fields quote.

Posted by: mattintx | January 6, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The focus now is on US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Can he explain the charges against Gov. Blago? Immediately? Otherwise I would consider his arrest of the Governor a pure political move, for which he may be liable.

Posted by: dudh | January 6, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

No, I still do get it. Thanks for asking. Get some rest now.

Posted by: mattintx | January 6, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

"All that matters is whether Reid still has the confidence of his Democratic colleagues."

You still don't get it.

Last week Blog was the sleazy Illinois Gov appeared to be on the verge of impeachment and prison. Now he looks like a reasonable official who has been badgered by an overzealous prosecutor. Now the whole Democratic Party and Reid have to defend themselves against charges of racism.

Blago learned his craft well. Chicago produces the Best Crooked Politicians anywhere!

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Reid's and Obama's comments made perfectly good sense at the time. The idea of accepting someone Blagojevich appointed after the arrest for trying to sell the seat would indeed seem preposterous, as the appointment would obviously look tainted.

Until Blagojevich, in a pretty good strategic move for his own criminal defense that he was "just thinking out loud," appoints the only person in IL that no one would suggest had or would make a deal for the seat. No one really anticipated that move, especially since B's lawyer said he wouldnt' appoint anyone.

So now that we have an appointment above suspicion (we'll just have to live with somone who was picked for his strategic advantage to B, and not otherwise on the merits), Obama and Reid should just say, "well, we didn't think of this when we made our earlier comments, and we have reviewed our position constitutionally and find no reason to test the issue in the courts, so we will seat him." 2010 will take care of itself anyway.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 6, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

meaning he can participate in meetings and serve on committees but has no vote in the Senate;

A special rule for the lone black Senator? He can hang around the chamber like a manservant, but can't vote or represent his state.
Whose brilliant idea was that???
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Posted by: MikeThomas87 | January 6, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."

WC Fields

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Reid must stand firm. He and the Senate need to show that they can't be outmaneuvered by sleazebag Blago (including B's cynical playing of race cards). Whatever Burris's past merits, by grabbing the opportunity that Blago gave him he has made himself complicit in corruption. If Reid and the Democratic leadership now backs down, they will demonstrate their weakness and will be rolled by the Republicans (who know how to play rough and have nothing to lose) at every turn.

Obama gives the Senate cover for standing up for principle in this mess.

Posted by: jm917 | January 6, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

JUST OBEY THE LAW.

Reid boxed himself in. Blago has not even been indicted, let along convicted.

Reid has succeeded in alienating black voters in a year that saw the election of the first African-American president. That had to take some talent.

BUT when will Congress address the question of domestic torture via radiation weaponry and devices?

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame
OR
http://Members.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 6, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

All that matters is whether Reid still has the confidence of his Democratic colleagues. It takes 30 to retain - or replace - the majority leader.

Posted by: mattintx | January 6, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Get the Illinois legislature to impeach Blago and then have the Lt. Gov. reappoint Burris.

Posted by: Michael47 | January 6, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

The whole thing takes on such comic overtures, and it is sad that we know SNL will never touch it. Blame the Republicans in December for making a big deal out of it-- that sure never worked.
Claim there is a post racial world when you're the last elected.
No one knew three weeks ago that both Obama and Reid were trying to select the new Senator from Il, and when it was obvious Blago had other ideas-- Bingo, he is arrested at his home in the morning two days later. Still no indictment that is all forgotten in any news. Right out of 24.
As Michelle says, for the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American. Maybe we should send the still dignified Burris an IPOD with Barrack the Magic N______. As the Press, Obama and Reid keep telling us, he is no magic N, and no place for him in the trillion dollar pay for play payback to all the election and coronation donors.
How about a third party?

Posted by: Donschott | January 6, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wharwood | January 6, 2009 6:01 PM
"I don't see why Reid is in a corner"

Everyone else in the world see it including Reid, which is why is offering a face saving way of seating Burris.

Reid's reputation and credibility have been severely damaged by the media and activist attacks on him as being racially biased against Burris.

Blago, The Brilliant, saw an opportunity and took the heat off himself and absolutely scorched other Dems and Reid with this appointment of Burris.

Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Right, Well, I hate to add my comment so late given the predictable partisan rants from both sides, but how about

5. THE DC Option
Burris is publicly told that his records are out of order and that until they are in order, certified by the Secretary of State and he is given a clean bill of health by the authorities investigating the Blagojevich scandal, he will be allowed to witness the workings of the senate but denied a vote. If he fails to show for meetings or events, he would be defanged as someone more interested in power than doing his job, and if he is in the chamber and shunned, he can't rile up the media.

If the people in Illinois are displeased with their lack of voting representation, maybe they will be better able to sympathize with those of us here in the District!

Posted by: bhague | January 6, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

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The democratic party is a complete circus they should not be governing ANYTHING


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Posted by: Yes37thandORulesForever | January 6, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse


The neocons are making lots of mountains out of molehills these days. The Republicans sure do attract people who would rather hiss and spit than come together to solve the multitude of problems created by their heroes, Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, et. al..

It's very simple: Blagojevich attempted to sell the Senate seat. Harry Reid said that the Senate would not seat anyone Blago appointed, AND HAS THE LEGAL RIGHT TO DO THIS. Senate appointments must be certified by the Secretary of State. Illinois' Secretary of State refused to certify Burris' appointment.

What part of it don't the neocons understand? And Chris Cillizza: why are YOU making a mountain out of a molehill?

Posted by: bamccampbell | January 6, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

This is an exorcise in hubris and stupidity by Reid to think he is somehow above the constitution and the law.

I don't care how corrupt the Gov. of Ill. is that doesn’t change the rules. The appointment is not only totally legal but also legally required.

Posted by: timothy2me | January 6, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This political problem was created by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. This individual is a loose cannon. Either he presses felony charges against Gov. Blago of Illinois immediately, or he withdraws his charges, and Blago gets to appoint who he wants.

Posted by: dudh | January 6, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The chairman of the Senate Rules Committee has parted with many of her Democratic colleagues and says that the Senate should seat former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris.


the revolt against the spineless tyrant begins. since Reid has the constitution and the intelligence of green jello, this will not last long. the Capone Administration is going to wish this away in a very thuggish fashion ASAP.

"Let me clarify my statement earlier that said I supported the blob of green jello. that was until I realized that he was not the blob of green jello I thought I knew. and besides, the poll results came in and the decision was made accordingly." -- Office of the Waffler in chief

now I must get back to my waffle.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why Reid is in a corner. He still stands on the high ground. Burris, claiming that he is ordained by god and that his rejection is an affront to all black people everywhere, looks like the cynical chisler.

As far as what is his legal right, there is more than a colorable argument that Reid doesn't have to seat him without the correct papers, which Burris does not have (No IL Ag). Let Burris take his whinge to district court and let some federal judge with the balls to step into a "political controversy" try to put an injunction on the United States Senate to seat this clown.

The sky will be dark with pigs before that happens. And that's assuming leaving the seat open presents an "irreparable harm," which is silly.

Posted by: wharwood | January 6, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"Burris Backs Reid Into a Corner"

Sorry pal, Burris just accepted the Blago appointment.

BLAGO BACKED REID INTO THE CORNER

Blago is using it for full advantage.
He now looks like a SAINT who appointed a respected long-time black Illinois state official to be the Senate's only black member.

Reid on the other hand looks like a MEAN old out of touch good old boy who probably a bigot.

Chicago Politicans are Pros in this game, Reid and the rest merely amateurs.
Blago wins in a knockout!


Posted by: chicago77 | January 6, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Reid 'my lip' put himself in the corner. (Wish it was is it on the canvass for a full ten count and more thought.) The puglist Governor of Illinois is certainly a better, far better war strategiest, thinking moves way ahead of duh Reid.
Now the old trial lawyer is wanting to negotiate his way out of the problem he created. Well, with his background, he should know that it takes two to negotiate. The elder Mr Roland Burris has now reason to negotiate with the Holier than Thou. He is duly appointed.
So that leaves it up to the courts. Even if there is special election, the duly appointed could challenge the elected one because there can only be one junior Senator from Illinois.
The criteria that the wise guy Reid is using to bar Mr Roland Burris, that is "tainted" process, is certainly one that could be used in upcoming "situations" involoving the Democrates, including the One in the White House.
Let it play out, Harry my boy.

Posted by: whatahoot | January 6, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

That whole story is so hypocritical. Yes, he said something on the phone, but it was brainstorming. He is a politician and expected something for him, but is this so unusual? Politics are made by men and men want power. There is no politician with power. The power he gets goes into his politics. So where is the problem?

On the other hand Reid seems to have enough power that he was quoted as an influencial politician who backs Israel in that butchering in Haaretz. That does not mean that supporting Reid is bad and that Reid is corrupt but he is not very far from his victim.

The best would be to forget this affair and return to normality of dirty politics as they are.

Posted by: uzs106 | January 6, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

oda155 writes
"Burris or any other "appointee" needs to be CERTIFIED, before the Senate can seat them as the Senator from Illinois or any other state."

While that is true, the IL SoS's 'certification' is largely a symbolic process. The IL constitution does not give the SoS veto power to reject the Gov's appointment. Burris's next step is likely to go to the IL courts to force the SoS to certify the appointment, which will perhaps allow Reid to go with option #2 and try to bow out gracefully.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The Burris vs Racist Reid stink fills the air in the US Senate,much like the rancid
stench coming out of the totally corrupt President Elect Barack Hussein Obama and Company White House and the Nutcase Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi Democrat House as well. And,it proves the Democrats are now the biggest bunch of hypocrits and gutless
racists in political history that will only get worse and worse under the Obama,
Biden,Reid and Pelosi Regime.

The stupidity of the Congressional Democrats refusing to seat the new US Senator Burris only shows that power happy
old senile fools and closet racists like
Sen Harry Reid and Speasker Pelosi need to
replaced and it proves that crooked little
Chicago thug and con man Barack Obama and
Joe The Motor Mouth Biden deserve Impeachment as well. God Help the USA.

Posted by: Marilyn80 | January 6, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Senator Reid needs to STAND FIRM and not yield to the race-baiting pander of either Blago or Rush. Burris' appointment is stained at best and he should not be seated. End of story.

Posted by: meldupree | January 6, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Burris or any other "appointee" needs to be CERTIFIED

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
all of a sudden Libs are very concerned with having all your paperwork in order.

Still waiting to see that original birth certificate that Obama spent over a million bucks refusing to show anyone.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

What's the big deal? Burris in the Senate will likely be a guy who votes his party's line, just like the other 99 people there.

Unfortunately Reid and the Democrats have fallen into their normal stereotype, of worrying far more about the process than the outcome.

Posted by: jimk8mr | January 6, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Hairy Reed and PeLoosi Galore are the gift that just keeps giving to comedians everywhere. this is what passes as Lib leadership. Obambi will soon be a member of this prestigious group - renamed Larry, Moe and Curly for accuracy.

and this is just the first day of their reign of terror, make that reign of comedy of errors.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Burris is right on the merits and should be seated forthwith; the dems need him in any case and Blagoivich is legally empowered to appoint him. Sure Burris wants to be a senator--most politicians at his level do. He's done nothing wrong. Smart of Burris and Blagoivich (who also has not clearly committed any crime) and stupid of Reid and the dems. Obama needs to be Caesar's wife, but the senate does not need his ok.

Posted by: woodside1 | January 6, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

WOW... the NeoCons are are out today and having fun... too bad none of you have the story correct :-) Burris or any other "appointee" needs to be CERTIFIED, before the Senate can seat them as the Senator from Illinois or any other state. And to all you who want to make this about race, that is as stupid as Burris thinking that he can "shame" the US Congress into seating him, and for the record I am Black and I'm a Democrat.

Posted by: oda155 | January 6, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Reid and the other Democrats certainly played this poorly. I think there was a certain overreaction to the Blagojevitch criminal complaint - a jump to convict him before a trial (Republican would have made the same mistake had the shoe been on the other foot).
Like it or not, Blagojevitch is governor and will remain so for sometime. As such, he retains the legal power to appoint Obama's successor. There is not a scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing on Burris's part, he appears qualified for the job, and so there no valid reason that he not be seated. It may be true that he is not be the strongest candidate for the 2010 election (he lost his last 3 elections), but Reid may be only making things worse. I think he needs to back off one way or the other. The Senate Democrats will soon need all the votes they can get. Give Burris a chance.

Posted by: wmw4 | January 6, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

MikeOLeary writes
"Everyone was told that the Senate will not seat Blago's appointment, because it would be tainted. No one had an issue with that when they announced it.

Now Burris, who knew this, decided anyway to accept Blago's appointment because of ambition. I have no sympathy for him. When you step into something bad and you were told beforehand what you are stepping into, then don't cry when the bad happens."


Mike, while I agree with your assessment of Burris, it is not at all clear that the Senate has the legal standing to declare they will not seat any Blagojevich appointee. Under IL law, the gov gets to make the appointment; Blago, like it or not, is the Gov. Burris accepted - the Senate has little recourse other than to seat Burris, who meets all the legal criteria for serving.

The politically astute thing to do is to seat Burris rather than risk losing in the courts.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is a mess and he is dragging down his party position with this dumb stance. And, Obama supported Reid!! This whole Democrat mess is second grade at best!!

Posted by: jjcrocket | January 6, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, Chris.

Burris did not back Reid into a corner---Reid backed himself into it with approval from Obama. And now we're all seeing what the Obama/Reid/Pelosi juggernaut will look like. And it looks very much like Bush/Cheney redux.

Translate: Constitution be damned.

Posted by: jayjay9 | January 6, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

hugmekatie, you say not to appoint Burris will cause the Democrats problems. Where else are the blacks going to go? You think Illinois blacks are going to vote Republican? LOL

Posted by: Italiaxxx | January 6, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone say that Burris has someone backed into a corner, all he’s done is prove why he should not have the seat, others have expressed interest in the seat, but have said they would not accept the appointment. First… he is the appointed replacement by the governor, second, he has not been certified by the states Attorney General or Secretary of State so therefore his appointment means nothing to the US Congress. Next, why would he even accept an appointment from Blago? I asked myself this question, then one day last week on the way home I heard why… Burris has run (unsuccessfully) for every elected political office in the state of Illinois, not he see this as his opportunity, his destiny.

This guy is a bottom feeder and an opportunist and should be turned away as should anyone else who would accept this appointment, in fact, he should have turned it down as others have. Oh, and no I am not calling him a crook or anything like that.

Posted by: oda155 | January 6, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

They out-foxed Reid as he was backing himself in the corner. My solution is for Reid to cut his losses before he misplays a whole host of emerging thorny issues and leads the Dems to severe midterm losses:
1. The Secty of State of Illinois certifies.
2. The Senate seats Burris.
3. The Dem. leadership quietly helps Burris decide that he won't run in 2010.
4. The "special election" becomes the 2010 contest.
5. As an alternative, Burris is accepted as an "interim" Senator pending the results of a special election.

Posted by: wulkan | January 6, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Reid made a mistake in commenting publicly in the first place. He's a senator from another state, and, until an appointment has legally been made, this is an internal matter within the state of Illinois. I have a bigger problem with Obama's commenting. He's about to become the Chief Executive. The President shouldn't be publicly commenting on whom the Senate (a part of the legislature) should or shouldn't seat or on whom a state should appoint to an open Senate seat. You know, federalism and separation of powers and all that inconvenient stuff.

Posted by: Charles_Day@comcast.net | January 6, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"And, thanks to the carefully orchestrated work of surrogates like Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Burris has ensured that the racial component will play a central role in any analysis of the standoff."

Only if reporters and commentators choose to run with that specious charge. Can reporters or talking heads just say, "No," Chris? Dismiss it and just move on?

Didn't think so.

Posted by: merelymyopinion | January 6, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Burris is an arrogant man who has played the race card in a situation that has nothing to do with race - exactly the impact Blagojevich wanted. I say option #1 - show a little backbone and let Burris get the beatdown from President-elect.

Posted by: batman3 | January 6, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

considering Reid is usually the one backing down and surrenduring to anyone who will listen, I can easily predict how this will end.

Instead of Reid being backed into a corner, it now seems that Reid is getting what he usually does to the sheep while it peers over the precipice. and you notice that spineless harry is pushing back.

A good sheep will do that.

Say Harry, while you're down there........

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Everyone was told that the Senate will not seat Blago's appointment, because it would be tainted. No one had an issue with that when they announced it.

Now Burris, who knew this, decided anyway to accept Blago's appointment because of ambition. I have no sympathy for him. When you step into something bad and you were told beforehand what you are stepping into, then don't cry when the bad happens.

Does Burris really expect the rules to be changed simply because he is black? That is blatant racism.

We have two groups crying racism. The simple minded who actually think it is racist to deny Burris even though, as promised, this would have been applied to anyone else. And Republican and conservative trouble makers who really couldn't care less about racism but now are screaming racism to stir the pot.

Posted by: MikeOLeary | January 6, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Burris is legally appointed and should be seated. Not to do so risks much damage to the Democrats as they start their new reign.

Posted by: hugmekatie | January 6, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Burris didn't back Reid into a corner, Reid backed himself in there. He popped his mouth off, trying to sound tough in the face of embarrassment by Blago. Blago, who basically has nothing to lose, called Reid's bluff. Reid's smartest option (which may mean its the one he is least likely to choose) is to pick #2: bow out gracefully. If Reid chooses #1 & Burris fights in the courts, Reid could come out worse for the wear.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Note to Harry Reid:
Stop being pig headed and swallow your pride and let that old man be seated. Burris will end up gaining much support from Americans and it won't look good for your 2010 reelection. Swear the man in DAM IT!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | January 6, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

spineless harry better watch out. It is only a matter of time before his embarrassing shenanigans land him on the shovel end of the new Capone Administration.

Team.........

More like, that's not the Harry I thought I knew......thunk!!!!

Posted by: king_of_zouk | January 6, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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