Today was a big day for Roland Burris. He was heading to Washington, DC, to try to enter the Senate as the Junior Senator from Illinois, and he faced opposition from members of his own party and resistance from the media. And as you might expect, I have a few comments on the matter.
- Burris didn't do himself too many favors today with how he responded to media questions. There's a fine line between being firm and just being an ass. From what I saw today, Burris crossed that line. He came off as arrogant and abrasive at times, which could make him look like a loose cannon. If the Burris appointment becomes a PR battle, the Senate Democrats may have a new weapon in their arsenal against him.
- Speaking of the media, what is it about reporters that they think rephrasing the same question will somehow net a different answer from the subject? In the initial minutes of the press conference, I heard three different reporters ask the same basic question, just phrased differently. Now you know why I got out of the reporting business. I wouldn't be able to be dumb enough.
- Today was also the day when Minnesota certified Al Franken as the winner of the Senate race against Norm Coleman. In a statement apropos of nothing, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said yesterday that Franken should be seated if he won the recount. At the same time, Senate Democrats are saying Burris shouldn't be seated because of Rod Blagojevich. Maybe it's me, but I think there's a lot more controversy swirling around Franken's victory than there is Burris's appointment, but Senate Democrats seem to be playing both sides of the fence on this one: allowing Franken in spite of the controversy, but refusing Burris because of the controversy. If Senate Democrats go through with their intention of refusing to seat Burris, I have two words for them to consider: George Wallace.
- There is a way for Harry Reid to get out of this situation and save face at the same time. As soon as Burris and Franken get to the Senate, they should be seated at the same time, side by side, with no fanfare or further comment. Imagine the visual! A white man and a black man walking side by side, smiles on both their faces, as they start their first days on the job. Of course, such a solution to the Democrats' dilemma would require them to be smart about it, and that may be pushing it with the knuckleheads running the Senate.
- During today's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Wolf Blitzer asked Burris about the possibility of a compromise. Under the terms of this compromise, Senate Democrats would seat Burris and allow him to serve 2 years, provided he promised not to run for reelection in 2010. If Senate Democrats really floated this trial balloon and didn't expect there to be some sort of backlash, they're bigger idiots than I thought. Not only would this be completely subverting the election process (which Democrats love to talk about...when it favors their candidates), but it would torque off a bunch of Illinois voters, Democrat and Republican. Want to lose a Senate seat in 2010? Continue thinking up crap like the Burris "compromise."
- Much has been made about the race card being played in the Burris selection and attempt to be seated. By a show of hands, who didn't see this coming? Democrats have made political careers by playing the race card, especially with the election of Barack Obama. Did they seriously think they would be immune from it in the Burris selection? For all of his faults, Blagojevich knows how to play the political game, and he's playing the Senate Democrats for fools. And Senate Democrats are bending over backwards to accommodate Blagojevich's attempts to make them look like the buffoons they are.
We'll see what happens with Roland Burris, but if it goes down like I think it will, I'd pop some popcorn, get a cooler full of beverages, find a comfy chair, and watch the fireworks.