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The [Tuesday] Papers

Let's take a stroll through Roland Burris's pasture, shall we?

"Moving to squash a controversy that became a distraction to President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration, Senate Democratic leaders on Monday accepted Roland Burris as Illinois' next senator even though the man who appointed him, Gov. Blagojevich, is accused of trying to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat," the Sun-Times reports.

In what way exactly was this a distraction to Barack Obama's inauguration, as opposed to, say, the debate that has already begun about his proposed stimulus plan or the war in Gaza? This is political strategist-speak. What this really means is that Team Obama would rather have you believe that the Democratic Party is now all sweetness, light and competency instead of the truth. It's a distraction from Obama's message, perhaps, particularly in that it involves his own former Senate seat, but taking the easy road on Burris mostly a distraction from the idea that Obama acts on principle and not the political expediency required of him to urge Senate leaders to back down and screw Illinoisans.

"In Chicago, a 'humbled and honored' Burris said he expected to be sworn in by the end of the day Friday. The 71-year-old lobbyist and former Illinois attorney general did not rule out seeking a full term in the Senate in 2010."

Please provide one example of your humility, Roland. And the person you have been "honored" by has been a governor out on bail playing to the jury pool by exploiting race - and getting away with it because, you know, Obama is post-racial.

"Senate Democrats and Obama initially vowed not to seat any Blagojevich appointee. But they ended up backing down in the wake of thin legal grounds for blocking Burris and a racial backlash that developed over filling the vacancy of the only African American in the Senate."

How did reporters go from steadfastly telling us that the U.S. Senate had the legal right to refuse Burris to steadfastly telling us about the "thin legal grounds" the Senate was standing on? Notice the shift? Because a lot of pundits and folks with an agenda kept telling them so, even though the law hasn't changed one iota since this all began.

Meanwhile, instead of reporting on a "racial backlash" it might be nice to emphasize that at least three African Americans whose names were mentioned far more frequently than Burris's declined the seat or took their name out of the running because of the man doing the appointing: Danny Davis, Jesse White, and Kwame Raoul.

"In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. 'Mike' Duncan slapped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin for flip-flopping."

Is "Mike" really acceptable as a nickname?

"Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have placed Washington politics above the people of Illinois or transparency," Duncan said. "Democrats had every opportunity to strip Gov. Blagojevich of his power to appoint a U.S. senator, but ultimately they accepted a Blagojevich appointee rather than risk losing a Senate seat in a special election."

This is undeniably true.

"Burris disputed any idea his appointment was tainted and defended fellow Democrats, including Reid, Durbin and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who took considerable heat in the black community for not signing one of Burris' nominating papers."

Burris also announced that campaign contributions from the mob or the American Nazi Party would not be tainted either, because the important thing is who is receiving the money, not who is giving it.

"Reid and Durbin initially said Burris could not be seated without White's signature. But Burris' legal team presented other paperwork to Senate officials that they said satisfied Senate rules."

The two highest-ranking members of the United States Senate said it was all about Jesse White's signature.

"Said Burris of Reid and Durbin: 'Never once did I doubt their intentions were motivated by anything other than doing what was right for the people of Illinois and by what they believed had to be done to protect the Senate as an institution'."

This is true. Even though Burris wondered aloud if opposition to his seating was racial, he never actually doubted the motivations of Reid and Durbin because he knows better in his heart and his head.

"White reiterated Monday he refused to sign Burris' nominating certificate because Blagojevich 'was arrested in part for trying to sell this very same Senate seat'."

Let's put it another way: The Burris appointment was part of the scheme to sell the Senate seat because it was a ploy to exonerate himself as well as one of the few appointments left available to him because of the scheme, which has now denied that seat to longtime congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr. and Jan Schakowsky, among others.

"Burris told reporters he has formed a campaign-finance committee to cover expenses tied to his appointment fight. He also said he's forming a legal-defense fund."

A legal-defense fund? Is he expecting to get sued, arrested, or both?

"In a statement, Obama's camp voiced his 'high regard' for Burris."

Really? Does he have a high regard for Burris taking the appointment? Does he have a high regard for Burris's role in the Rolando Cruz case? Name three things about Burris's record that have earned your high regard.

"'He looks forward to working with Sen. Burris and the rest of the United States Senate to rebuild our economy and meet the great challenges of our time,' said Dan Pfeiffe, spokesman for the Obama-Biden Transition."

The United States Senate cannot even meet the challenge of Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris, how the hell is it going to "rebuild our economy and meet the great challenges of our time"?

The Burris Rules
A reworking and expansion of something I posted in the Beachwood yesterday. I like the photo. I picked it out.

Programming Note
* I'm scheduled to talk about Burris & Blago on Marfa Public Radio at 10:30 a.m. The station is run by former Chicagoan Tom Michael, former host of much-lamented Tom's Town on UIC radio. You can listen in if you want.

* I'll be on a panel this evening about innovation and the 2008 presidential campaign. The event is full, but organizers say there are always no-shows and cancellations, if you're interested. You can see a blurb in this Sun-Times column.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: 50 percent improved.



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Posted on January 13, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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