Sometimes it's hard to decide whether or not public figures – especially the elected ones – have enough sense to get in out of the rain or enough skill to open an umbrella. One thing is certain, to wit, that many if not most of them release the clutch on their collective tongues before they get their brains in gear. The Senate democrats made it clear a while back that they would see to it that anyone appointed to the "Obama seat" by Illinois Governor Blagojevich would not be seated, as if they had the power to bring that off. They don't. This is a case of "running off at the mouth" before running the brain through the thought process.
This is from the Chicago Tribune of 30 December: "U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) said in a statement this afternoon the Senate will not seat anyone Gov. Rod Blagojevich chooses to fill Illinois' vacant Senate post, amid word that the governor is set to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. The statement also is signed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who has repeatedly urged Blagojevich not to name a replacement for the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The statement specifically names Burris, but applies to any choice the governor might make."
In the first place, Reid and his gang, already expressing an opinion days ago, judged any appointee before the appointee's identity was known. That's called bigotry, bias, whatever...even potential racism. Mostly, though, that was just plain dumb. Reid is best-known for his whining obstructionism and Durbin for his infamous comparing of U.S. GIs to the keepers of Russia's Gulags, Hitler's nazi SS troops, and Pol Pot's operators of the Cambodian "Kmer Rouge killing fields." Reid and Durbin are candidates for enrolling in a school teaching that silence is golden or simply for a procedure in having their tongues excised, whichever guarantees more credibility.
The U.S. Constitution is quite plain in Amendment 17, leaving it up to the governor of a state to inculcate an election to fill a vacated U.S. Senate seat or, if so provided by the state legislature, to simply appoint a replacement. In Illinois, the legislature has enacted a statute requiring the governor to make an appointment, thus avoiding a costly statewide election, complete with the usual corrupt campaigning. The Illinois legislature met after the Blagojevich indictment to see if it wanted to change the law and require an election. It didn't, so the governor was required by the extant law to make an appointment, which he has done. That's all perfectly legal.
So...the hue and cry becomes a matter of expelling (and thus not seating, as if that made any sense) the appointee, Roland Burris, a longtime political apparatchik, serving as both the Illinois comptroller and attorney general and, of course, a significant contributor to Blagojevich campaign chests. Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution: "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member." Obviously, Burris would have to be seated before he could be expelled, so that argument is shot out of the water, even if the two thirds could be accomplished, and the republicans would likely see to it that that didn't happen. This is just too much fun for them...meaning discomfiture for the democrats.
Okay...Burris is seated and right away the effort is made to expel him because a governor nobody likes appointed him. Okay...go ahead and laugh your head off. The deliberations would never involve the governor because he hasn't been seated. His name wouldn't even be allowed to be mentioned, at the insistence of the republicans. Burris is as clean as Illinois politicians can be (judgment left up to reader), so there would be no grounds to unseat him. Voila! Case closed. Burris is the new senator unless Reid can uncover a wrongdoing serious enough to disqualify him, but that might mean someone's insistence that a hard look be taken at every democrat senator. That would be a gigantic taboo.
As if all this is not enough, Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush of Black Panther fame mounted the podium at the Burris announcement and turned the whole shooting match into a racial matter. Can any senator, as he put it, afford to block the appointment of a black to Obama's seat, automatically calling for another black in this era of political correctness as paramount? Of course not! Reid and his gang have been backed into a corner by Blagojevich/Burris, from which they cannot extricate themselves...and all because they should have kept their mouths shut.
Chase it all back to U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald of "Plame fame." He blew the whistle on Blagojevich, figuring that the governor would be forced out of office at best or impeached at worst or not make an appointment anyway at worse worst. That wasn't his job. His job is to bring charges, get indictments, and prosecute, not act as the keeper of the state conscience, assuming such a thing in Illinois government, or, in any state government. He and the other self-righteous paragons of virtue in the Congress have overstepped this time, but that's no surprise...just bring out the umbrellas.