Update, 1-6-2008: So the Seargent at Arms can turn Burris away, but he can’t arrest Rove and Miers? Again: Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid.
At present, I am watching Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid do a “but I have black friends” to (likely unfounded) accusations that his opposition to seating is racial on Meat the Press. Still. One would think that Reid would know better, would know that, as the sage squirrel Rocky used to say, “That trick never works.”
I think Reid and the Senate Democrats have taken an unrealistic tack on the issue of Burris and Rod Blagooeybitch. I don’t think they are legally empowered to keep Mr. Burris from his seat, and indicating on the TV that they are is just setting Democrats up for a fall for no reason. Blagooeybitch hasn’t even been indicted yet. Nor has he been impeached or recalled. He was strapped into handcuffs and thrown in to a paddy wagon, and he has heard the charges leveled against him by the U.S. Attorney. Reid argues that there’s a “cloud” over him, but the law doesn’t give a crap about a “cloud.” And, in an age when a sitting Senator with seven convictions still believed himself to be politcally viable, it apparently takes a humongous burden of proof these days.
Besides, the fact remains that the state of Illinois is entitled to representation in the Senate, and that Blagooeybitch has fulfilled that obligation under the extent of the law. Denying Burris a seat denies small-d democracy, and I don’t think the Demo-crats need to be the party that engages in that kind of politics.
Besides, don’t we kind of NEED Democratic votes? If we don’t allow this seat to be filled, there is an unlikely scenario by which, through judicial intervention or by other means, we dismiss Burris only to politically fumble, and a Republigoat takes the seat. I can’t connect A to B in this scenario, but I do fear it’s possible. Seating Burris seals it as a D for four years. Leaving it open leaves open also the possibility, though scant, of a political fumble and one less from 60. Worth the risk?
There are so many more effective things Reid and Senate Democrats can do to make displeasure known with the Blagooeybitch appointment and Burris’ acceptance of it. Don’t give Burris any committee assignments. Don’t invite him to meetings. Give him nothing to do but to show up and vote. Make him the most bored Senator in all of history. Cause him to feel like the pariah he will certainly be on the Hill and see if he thinks it’s worth it to run for this office himself.
My party’s biggest shortcoming is its epic incompetence at picking battles. It passed on the most important battle it could have waged, the legitimate and necessary impeachment of the President and the Vice-President; but it’s willing to wheel out the slingshot for this happy horseshit, to oppose the seating of one of its own to the Senate.
Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid.