Politics as Venality

It's the best entertainment anywhere in the country these days the saga played out on even the mainline TV networks and coastal newspapers (otherwise known as the Democrat Party propaganda machine) of "Senators Reid and Durbin vs. Roland Burris of Illinois." It's an on-again-off-again affair fit to outdo anything any soap opera or dime-novel has to offer.

Caught on the horns of their own dilemma, Reid and Durbin or at least Reid have decided to throw the Illinois state secretary, Jesse White, under the bus, blaming him for the fact that Burris, who has already built a monument to himself (okay...in a cemetery), can't be seated in the august Senate because White has usurped the power of the Illinois governor by nay-saying both Burris and Governor Blagojevich through not signing the proper document required by both the U.S. Constitution and Illinois law. Of course, White should be thrown under the bus if not in the big house for attempting to give his office the privilege of vetoing any appointment any governor might make and thus breaking the law he has sworn to uphold.

It gets better. This is from Reuters of 30 December 2008: "KAILUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday he agreed that Senate Democrats 'cannot accept' any move by Illinois' scandal-tarred governor to name a replacement for Obama's Senate seat." So...he who would hold the highest office in the land and has sworn to uphold the Constitution as a senator and will so swear again as president has decided that there are exceptions to the law, namely him and the U.S. Senate. Of course, the messiah didn't mention the republicans in the Senate, thus throwing them under the bus even before the inauguration balls that promise to consume at least two months of revelry. Nor did he, as an officer of the court and former law professor, insist that the laws of the land be upheld.

The sweetest irony in this circus applies to Senator Durbin, who has attempted to deep-six both Burris and White. Why the irony? Senator Durbin is the guy who compared American GIs to the keepers of Stalin's gulags, the nazi SS troops of Adolph Hitler, and the sword-swingers of Pol Pot (2 million dead in Cambodia). Now, Durbin has done just what he accused those people or their regimes of doing taking the law into his own hands but actually making a laughingstock of himself in the process.

This is from Progress Illinois of 07 January: "Sen. Dick Durbin said at the press conference that he expects the court to weigh in on the matter this week. This afternoon, however, White and [Illinois] Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a counter motion calling on the high court to reject Burris' appeal (to the Illinois Supreme Court). They argue that White fulfilled his obligations under Illinois law by registering the appointment and is not required -- by the state or the U.S. Senate -- to sign the certificate."

So...White and Madigan, who had also tried to void the appointment earlier by claiming that Blagojevich was unfit to act as governor (thus making appointments) and was rebuffed by the court, are trying to throw Durbin under the bus. Go ahead and laugh! If the Burris suit goes through, Madigan will have to represent the state in turning down the appointment she has already asserted was valid through White's registering of the appointment. Hilarious!

The saga gets better. It turns out that Reid, certainly not realizing that Fed Prosecutor Fitzgerald was taping Blagojevich's phone calls, called the governor just over a month ago to inform him that three black men would not be welcome in the Senate as appointees, two of them in Congress already and the other the president of the Illinois Senate. Instead, Reid suggested two white women, one of them the current Illinois attorney general (Madigan imagine that!) and the other recently defeated in a Congressional race (Tammy Duckworth). White women over a black guy! What was Reid thinking?

This is from Chicago's WLS-TV of 07 January: "Reid also says even if White signs the certificate, Reid would be [sic] possibly be willing to seat Burris, but he doesn't think that will happen without a full vote of every member of the United States Senate." What kind of nonsense is that? Does this mean that a certified (okay, registered who knows) appointee against whom no one has filed a complaint or bill of particulars, at least yet, is still at the mercy of the Senate? Egad! The founding fathers must be rolling over!

This saga is demonstrative of the dirty side of politics and gives one pause as to whether or not people this venal or starkly incompetent can actually govern. The notion that the crystal-clear requirements of the law can be ignored by the lawmakers at their whim/chicanery bespeaks the route to some sort of anarchy. The nation deserves better, and, without question, when the dust settles every bad actor in this monumental mess should have to answer to some sort of ethical inquiry or perhaps even to a criminal proceeding. Heading that list should be Obama, Reid, Durbin and White. They make Blagojevich look like a saint.