Like a Bull Catching Flies In a Chinashop with Vinegar

The Senate refused to seat Balgo's pick to replace Obama - Burris - citing the fact that his appointment paperwork had not been signed by the IL Secretary of State, as required by Senate rules. The IL Sec State refused to sign the sheet because Blago was the one doing the appointing. Setting aside two interesting issues (IL's constitutional right to Senate representation regardless of the Senate's procedural rules and how exactly one goes about suing to exercise that right), I want to instead focus on Burris.

Burris is clearly smart and popular. He is a high-ranking attorney and was elected by the state to his position four times. That's why I don't get his strategy. He knew the taint of his appointer, and he knew that the Senate would plan to reject him. Seems to me the correct course of action would have been to take the case straight to the media with a message that you are capable, stable, and highly ethical.

Imagine a press conference the day of the Burris announcement in which he stood up and said, "I am a good choice by a man who has made some bad choices, but that only means that I will have to show the people of IL and the people everywhere in this country just what sound government means. I'll be held to a higher standard of scrutiny and I welcome it." Reid would have been mad that Burris went to the media, but he would have been stuck. Burris could have made this a conversation about his own credentials, pushing Blago into the background. Reid and Pelosi's principled stance would have crumpled as the desire to move past this, even with a mediocre but solid pick, would have overwhelmed them.

Instead, Burris thumped his fist, showed up at the chamber knowing he would not be let, and otherwise just looked for a fight. In doing so, he looked like an extension of Blago, another hot-headed IL politician, and played right into Reid's arms. Now it seems reasonable to shun him, citing instead the need for true democracy in the form of a special election. I, mean, really? How did Burris not see this coming?

1 comment:

David said...

I think that this is one of those moments when Republicans get to point and laugh...