Monday, January 12, 2009

Does Reid feel foolish these days?

Watching the opening sketch of Saturday Night Live this weekend made it clear that some people want to peddle the notion of Roland Burris and Rod Blagojevich as a couple of nincompoops (with the latter being a potty mouth as well).

Yet I can’t help but wonder if the list of political fools these days ought to include the senator from Nevada who also happens to be leader of the U.S. Senate. Every time that Harry Reid tries to take a firm stance on the whole issue of replacing Barack Obama, circumstances force him to back down.

IS REID REALLY so clueless? Or does he merely act too impulsively, rather than think things through rationally?

Friday was a particularly bad day for Reid, who tried to use the fact that the Illinois House of Representatives proceeded with plans to impeach Blagojevich to change his stance on Burris back to his original view – that anyone associated with Gov. Milorod is too tainted to be in the same legislative chamber that once held Ted Stevens and John Edwards.

How else does he go from saying on Wednesday that it is very likely Burris will be accepted into the ranks of the Senate to having Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., say for him on Friday afternoon that senators will now take a hard-line stance on Burris’ political fate.

But before the day could end, that stance got dumped on. Durbin claimed that the Illinois secretary of state’s refusal to certify the paperwork from Blagojevich that made Burris a senator was so legitimate that the Senate was prepared to be a stickler about the existence of a state seal.

WHITE, WHO WAS getting tired of being used as the excuse for rejecting Burris in the Senate, went ahead and provided some paperwork that Burris allies believe shows his support.

So unless Reid is prepared to take up this issue as a personal crusade, using all of his influence to dump on Roland Burris, he’s going to have to accept the fact that the political powers that be in Illinois are inclined to accept (or at the very least, tolerate) the idea of “Roland, Roland, Roland” for two years.

Unless one wants to accept the idea that a slightly conservative senator from Nevada should be able to overrule the view of people from Illinois as to who the junior senator should be, then one has to accept the concept of Burris on Capitol Hill (and not, as Saturday Night Live portrayed him, using a fake mustache and glasses as a disguise to try to sneak into the Capitol).

Regardless of how this situation turns out, Reid has managed to ensure that he will be the one who winds up looking ridiculous.

AFTER ALL, HIS original change in stance from Tuesday (when he said “no” to the idea of Burris and Capitol police escorted Roland from the Senate chambers) to Wednesday had a measure of face-saving included in it, because it included talk of conditions that Burris would have to meet in order to be seated in the Senate.

So it could have been argued that Burris had to make some concessions in order to get Reid to back down from his opposition.

But those conditions (including Burris’ cooperation with the Illinois House panel that recommended impeachment for Blagojevich, a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court of Illinois and a change in stance from Secretary of State Jesse White) appear to have been met.

The real significance of Durbin’s appearance Sunday on the CBS weekend interview program “Face the Nation” was to see how the Senate Democrats led by Reid would try to justify once again changing their mind, without coming across as completely clueless.

REID HAD DURBIN on Friday saying that the U.S. Senate was prepared to wait out the Illinois Senate to remove Blagojevich from office so that a new governor (Pat Quinn) could pick a new senator.

Yet Durbin on Sunday said what anyone with common sense realized on Friday, on Tuesday of last week, or even a month ago back when federal prosecutors in Chicago sought a criminal complaint against Blagojevich – waiting out impeachment and removal proceedings will take way too much time, leaving Illinois short-staffed in its political representation in Washington for the interim.

So now, the Senate’s staffers who actually comprehend the legalese that makes up many bills will have to look at the paperwork that White signed on Friday to see if it truly is the same as having a letter from the governor with the state seal affixed, and also will read through transcripts of Burris’ testimony that was meant to say as little as possible while not catching himself in any kind of lie.

It would be nice to think these documents are getting straightforward readings so as to make Reid and his top Senate aides understanding of Burris’ legal situation.

FOR IF IT turns out that Reid and his gang are merely looking for another technical trap that could be used to allow them to change their minds once again and revert to a hard-line stance against Roland, they will wind up making themselves look ridiculous.

In fact, that could wind up being the historical legacy of Rod Blagojevich, a middling, intellectual lightweight who became governor of Illinois and managed to reduce everyone he came into contact with to his level of half-wit thought – even the high-and-mighty Senate Majority Leader.


EDITOR’S NOTES: After going from “no” to “yes” back to “no,” Harry Reid had ( Dick Durbin come up with some political rhetoric that implies the answer to the question, “Will Roland Burris ever become a U.S. senator” may actually be “yes.”
Rod Blagojevich’s “appointment” of Burris to the Senate has made the Senate look as foolish (,w-democrat-burris-blagojevich-011109.article) as Blagojevich himself.

Saturday Night Live’s sketch that attempted to parody Burris and Blagojevich struck me ( as being more notable for its incredibly awful impersonation of MSNBC news anchor Rachel Maddow.

Reid ought to get the Burris situation behind him ( so that the Senate can shift focus on trying to put together an economic recovery package that actually can work.

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