Watching the Roland Burris press conference on the twelfth was the best entertainment in town. He of the self-inculcated monument-to-himself-in-the-cemetery went to some length (okay, a wild ‘gushing session’) in thanking Senate Majority Leader Reid and his second-in-command, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, for the opportunity to serve in the Senate. The onlooker in this corner laughed out loud during this bit of fraud while remembering that only last week these two worthies had flatly stated that Burris would be a Senate no-show, and Reid, besides not allowing him even a look in the Senate chamber on swearing-in day, actually forced him to have his press conference out in the rain.
Prez-elect Obama had already decreed that Burris would not get the job – in fact that nobody appointed by Illinois Governor Blagojevich would – and obviously presumed that his word would be golden in the matter. The delicious element in this affair was that Reid, Durbin and Obama are all lawyers and as such would be expected to understand both the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois statutes, which combined to make the appointment by Blagojevich virtually written in granite, like Burris’s monument-in-the-cemetery.
Instead, they figured to do an end-run around the law (not a surprise in the world of politics) and get the person they wanted. Obviously, they did not want Burris, and that’s not surprising, especially in the case of Durbin and Obama, because Illinois politics is what it is – corrupt, like the politics in most states, meaning that the movers and shakers “use” the political machinery for their own personal desires. This is especially true in the day of the career-politician, something the founding fathers never meant to be a possibility.
The one person Burris not only did not thank but didn’t even mention was the person who made his monument-addition possible – Governor Blagojevich. Indeed, more than once, Burris went out of his way to mention the scandals surrounding the governor. This is the sort of thing that average citizens have come to expect from political opportunists...and it stinks. Disloyalty always stinks. Just as Reid, Durbin and Obama had thrown Burris under the bus, he proceeded to throw his benefactor, the man who made his good fortune possible, to that oily space. Yeah...Burris stinks, just like the other three.
On the thirteenth, the “Hillary Hearing” took place before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by none other than Senator John Kerry. There’s no argument with this appointment. Senator Clinton is bright and will do as well as most anybody in that job, especially since the crucial decisions are always made by the president. The State Secretary does the legwork, such as it is, but the prez calls the shots, as he should. She will travel the world and instigate documents of approval, disapproval, and/or outrage concerning what other countries do, but she will not make policy.
The irony in this affair had to do with Senator Kerry, who actually pointed out that he appeared before the same committee (not the same members, obviously) in 1971. This is from the Boston Globe of March 25, 2004: “In a question-and-answer session before a Senate committee in 1971, John F. Kerry, who was a leading antiwar activist at the time, asserted that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being ‘murdered by the United States of America’ and said he had gone to Paris and ‘talked with both delegations at the peace talks’ and met with communist representatives.” At the time, Kerry was a Naval Reserve officer committing an act of treason (defined as “the betrayal of a trust: TREACHERY”) with the enemy while Senator McCain and others were caged like dogs and tortured in the Hanoi Hilton.
This means that by the time he made that statement (his exact words, “So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America …”), Kerry’s comrades/nation had murdered [his word] 1.6 million Vietnamese 1964-71 (or almost 4 percent of the population for 1970), mostly civilians – women, children, and old men. He’s never offered a scintilla of proof for that wacky accusation. Regarding morality, he betrayed his country in 1970 in France and lied to Congress in 1971.
It’s a travesty on all this nations stands for that Kerry can chair this committee. It would seem that the last thing he would want brought to the nation’s attention was his perfidy in this matter. For him to do so was either an “in-your-face” to the nation/military or an example of stupidity. Disloyalty always stinks, even when perpetrated by senators or senator-appointees such as Kerry and Burris.
So goes the government (or governmental comedy/tragedy) these days. The perpetrator of this corner is in the process of watching via DVD the docudrama John Adams and reading John Meacham's American Gospel. One wonders what that founding father would have thought of today’s inheritors of the responsibility of seeing to the nation’s well-being.