Selective Outrage Over Burris

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 12:49

If Senate Democrats do indeed block Roland Burris from entering the Senate chamber, as they have threatened to do, it will be the strongest action they have undertaken, like, ever. Hearing Democrats invoking Article One, Section Five of The Constitution is more reminiscent of Republican attempts to impeach President Clinton or destroy filibusters than it is of anything under Harry Reid's leadership. It is worth noting that blocking a Democrat who was unquestionably appointed legally, from being seated in the Senate is the issue where Democrats decide to grow a spine and play hardball. I mean, really, this is the issue where Senate Democrats decide to stand up for themselves?

The selective outrage over this appointment kills me.  The dry powder brigade rubberstamped a war of choice "justified" by a pack of lies.  They accepted torture, domestic surveillance and the total politicization of the DOJ.  They swallowed brazen defiance of lawfully issued subpoenas.  They never even seriously considered censure, much less impeachment.

Now, when a crooked Dem gov pulls off a cheap political stunt that, like it or not, is entirely lawful, the dry powder brigade opens fire w/ both barrels.  Where was this outrage when Mukasey wouldn't admit that waterboarding was torture?  Where was it when AGAG lied under oath to Cong. committees knowing that they knew that he knew he was lying?  Where was this outrage on retroactive FISA immunity?  How about when Miers, Rove, et al thumbed their noses at Cong. subpoena power?

If Reid wanted to be consistent here, he'd send a strongly worded letter to Blago and then agree to let Burris be seated and to get committee assignments.

It is more than a little worrying that the only moment when Senate Democrats decide to take the gloves off is to block a Democrat who was legally appointed to the Senate from being seated. Kind of makes you think that Senate Democrats are more willing to stand up to other Democrats than they are to Republicans.

Perhaps this will herald in a new era where Senate Democrats are willing to use aggressive tactics in many areas, rather than, say, allowing a record number of filibusters to pass without actually forcing those threatening to the filibuster to actually filibuster. If that were the case, then this would be a hopeful move. Article One is in desperate need to revitalization. It is more likely, however, that this will be an isolated incident and not representative of a new tone from the Senate leadership. Don't expect this sort of action if, say, the 2012 Presidential election turns out like the 2000 election. It isn't worth spending political capital when Republicans steal a Presidential election, but it is worth blocking a legally appointed Democratic Senator because you don't like the guy who appointed him.

Chris Bowers :: Selective Outrage Over Burris

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Thanks (4.00 / 1)
Let us hope that in the next few days cooler heads will prevail.

This does not bode well for the start of new administration.

Impeach! (4.00 / 1)
If Dems have suddenly grown a spine now they should impeach Bush and Cheney. There's still 19 days, lots of time to make a strong forceful statement that will swat Repubs on the nose, send them back to their corner for 4 years, put the finishing touch on Bush's precious precious legacy.

This would set a terrible precedent... (4.00 / 2)
...if Reid blocks the appointment, or sends it to a committee for months.

Just imagine a situation in the future where Republicans control the Senate by a slim margin. It's December, and a Democratic senator dies in a plane crash. The outgoing Democratic governor of that state appoints a Democrat to replace him, but a Republican governor will be sworn in around Jan. 15th.

Well, using Harry Reid's precedent, the Republican Senate leadership could just block the appointee from the Senate with armed guards, they could send the matter to a committee, and then just sit on it until the new Republican governor from that state appoints a Republican Senator.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it's just as ridiculous as Harry Reid's illegal actions here. Blago is still an innocent man, a duly-elected governor, and his powers have not been stripped by the IL legislature. Burris has done nothing wrong, there is no apparent quid pro quo, it was a legal appointment.

I think the IL legislature and Reid got outplayed by Blago. They should just follow the law and seat Burris, because otherwise it sets a terrible precedent that the GOP will be sure to exploit once they are in power again.

Oh, and this is a huge distraction during a critical time.

Everyone thinks that we should just seat him and embrace this guy.. (4.00 / 2)
...with open arms and everything will be OK.

Sure...  The Burris is attempting to occupy a seat that has literally been sold by a corrupt governor.

Yeah, no repercussions there...  I'm sure our political enemies would just let that slide and NEVER bring it up ever... like not every hour of every day with pictures of Reid hugging "corrupt appointee" Burris and how the Democratic party embraces corruption...  Hear the dripping?  That's all our political capital running down the drain!

At the very least there SHOULD be an investigation to see if the seat was actually sold to Burris.  It would be the minimally responsible thing to do.

The best outcome here is Reid fighting this, losing, and the guy gets seated, but we don't like it and that's the end of that...  We'll still get pummeled politically for having a senator tainted by corruption, but, at this point, we have to minimize the damage from a rogue governor who is willing to take down the party to save himself from jail.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

There is no evidence of corruption (4.00 / 2)
No one has even suggested that Burris is part of the ongoing corruption.  May I also remind you that even the Obama report said the Blagojevich did not approach them with anything improper?

So far all we know is that to an aide, Blagojevich talked about doing something improper.

The repercussions will be that Burris is not given any or low level committee appointments.

He probably will have to defer to Durbin on important votes.

Finally he will be primaried in 2010 and the party will not be backing him.

Is that not enough?

[ Parent ]
Tough... (0.00 / 0)
Harry Reid doesn't get to ignore the law because it leads to an inconvenient outcome. Or he can, but that would make him no better than Bush and Blago.

[ Parent ]
Get in line (0.00 / 0)
Why should any Congress investigate this matter before they've taken up the investigation of the Bush/Cheney administration with regard to skewing the intelligence while selling the war in Iraq, rewriting interrogation rules, wire-tapping domestic sources, and undermining the US Constitution?

If you want to pick a political fight, do it with the other party, eh?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
spot on, mike (4.00 / 1)
What happened to turn all the other commenters here into mirror images of Republicans?  The solution to selective outrage is to get outraged over the other things that deserve it, not to just cave in to corruption and power grabs AGAIN.  Whether Burris was involved in anything corrupt himself is irrelevant; nobody can take him seriously, because he was willing to openly embrace Blagojevich.  WTF is the matter with you people???

[ Parent ]
Remember Grover Norquist's famous line (0.00 / 0)
about how when you "fix" farm animals, they behave themselves and don't make trouble? Well, in the case of senate Dems, it's clearly worked. Reid is about as gelded as they come, and 30 years of GOP efforts to tame, intimidate, train and corrupt Dems has succeeded. It's their one still-successful political legacy, a poison pill of sorts that they've implanted in the Democratic party, a way of winning while losing. It's almost as if they still control congress through puppet Dem leaders. And the challenge now is to either force these leaders to start acting like Dems, or force them out and replace them with real Dems. Because what's the point of winning if you don't actually do anything with it?

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

defending the club (4.00 / 1)
there is only one thing that gets Senate Democrats excited, and that's the Senate itself. not what it's supposed to do, mind you. just the club. defending each other from those scurrilous unSenatorial forces out there, and making sure that they get to decide who can join the club and who can't. well, except for those pesky elections.

that's why they're furious about Burris and meh about Franken. Franken is unseating a current Senator for gosh sakes. sure maybe they have to let him in eventually but it would be unseemly to make a fuss about it.

they're getting more Roman by the day...

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

It isn't tough (0.00 / 0)
If I were in the Senate, I would want someone appointed asap, but also to avoid an appearance of complicity in corruption.

It looks as if the Supreme Court decided this question a long time ago. The Senate can't block Burris.

Reid knows this.  Burris can (and will) sue and be seated fairly quickly.

I can't imagine a better outcome at this point for the Democrats.  It has nothing to do with standing tough against a fellow Democrat.  It's a tough-sounding position to make a futile and principled-appearing stand against Blagojevich.

thank you. sense prevails (0.00 / 0)
the law is the law.

Burris, who would be a loyal, dependable Democratic vote, is being spit upon.

and, for what reason?  

Why aren't we putting pressure of (0.00 / 0)
Dick Durbin(IL)-the Senior IL US Senator to let the US Senate seat Roland Burris.

What would have Tom Daschle(SD) or George Mitchell(ME) or Robert Byrd(WV) done if a corrupt Democratic Governor lets say
In 2000- GA Governor Roy Barnes decided to sell Paul Coverdell's VACANT US Senate Seat to the highest bidder -was indicted by Special Prosecutor Ken Starr. Later appointed former Governor Zell Miller to that seat. Would the Senate Democrats block Miller's appointment to the US Senate.

How will the Senate Democrats behave if (0.00 / 0)
Barack Obama decides to appoint John Ensign(NV) to an Ambassador position of another country. Ensign is confirmed unaminously by the US Senate. NV Republican Governor Jim Gibbons who is under investigation appointed an elder statesman caretaker Republican Former Governor Kenny Guinn to Ensign's VACANT US Senate Seat. Would Harry Reid prevent Kenny Guinn from being seated?

[ Parent ]
The Gov Is Just Doing His Job (0.00 / 0)
The Governor said he would have supported a special election but the Illinois legislature decided to impeach him instead so he went ahead and fulfilled his duties and made the appointment. Who can fault the lovable old grandfatherly forever candidate Burris for being selected? He has run for every office in the state during his 70 years and now gets to be Senator for two years. Then Illinois can have their special election.  



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