Until Illinois Governor named him to the currently vacant senate seat, few people outside Illinois including myself had ever heard of the name Roland Burris, but now that he has been named to the seat, Washington Democrats are wasting time creating unnecessary drama refusing to seat him. This is mindboggling considering most people in Congress are trained lawyers who should be able to distinguish between law, ethics and politics.
First of all, let me make it very clear. Gov. Blogojevich's attempt to 'sale' the senate seat was ethically wrong, but legally he has not even been indicted. Plus what happened to being innocent until proven guilty? It is true that the Illinois legislature can impeach the Governor, but until they do so, he still has the constitutional power to name a replacement to the Obama seat. Blagojevich played hardball and dared Democrats by naming Burris to the seat. What he did was despicable, but it was not illegal. That Burris himself would stoop so low as to accept the tainted appointment says something about him, but Roland Burris is not under investigation here or accused of any crime. If anything, his judgment is what we should question here. Is he so ambitious about being Senator that he would rather go to Washington under the tainted cloud of the appointee rather than win the senate seat in a special election? Also, Burris, Bobby Rush and Blagojevich's attempt to paint Democrats in Washington as being racist is just plain insulting. This is a nation that just elected the first African American president. We have made progress on racial relations and while we still have a long ways to go, seating Roland Burris is not and should not be at the top of race relations to-do list.
The entire nation was shocked by the Blagojevich revelation, but Democrats in Washington may have overreacted by immediately saying they would not seat anyone Blagojevich. The Democrats in Illinois did no better, instead of looking for ways to immediately take the power to fill the seat from the Governor, they went to the IL Supreme Court to ask that it declare Blagojevich unfit for office. They could have declared a special elections for the seat but they hoped Blagojevich under pressure would resign and the Lt. Gov. would then be the one to name the replacement. But Blagojevich did not budge and did what he still has the constitutional power to do.
There are many things that congress should be dealing with, take the economy for example, hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their jobs everyday. Instead of fighting an appointee who stands no chance of winning election in 2010, the Democrats should provisionally seat him and move on to more important things.