Burris shows he’s tough enough to be a successful candidate in 2010

Burris shows he’s tough enough to be a successful candidate in 2010


Roland “I am the Senator” Burris after Senate turned him away

I’m starting to like this Burris guy. OK, so he’s Rod Blagojevich’s personal choice to fill Obama’s vacant Senate seat, which is a very, very bad way to start a Senate career.  Still, he’s showing himself to be smart, cool, dignified, and capable of marching right up to Harry Reid and all the rest to claim his seat.


Few pols have that kind of genuine moxie. Oh, sure, they talk about strength and courage and what not, but put a little pressure on them — say, the pressure of the whole national Democratic Party leadership — and not many wouldn’t fold. But Chicago’s Roland Burris seems positively eager for a fight.


A major factor in the way Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and others have backed themselves into their present corner is the sense they seem to have that no African-American — especially not one chosen by Blago — will win election to a full term in 2010, handing the seat to the GOP. (And of course, the reason both the Senate and Illinois Democratic leaders backed away from their initial call to strip Blago of the appointment power and set a special election was that the GOP might win the special.) But Burris is proving himself to be one tough cookie. He’s shrewd, yet disarmingly smooth; sharp, while exuding a kind of grandfatherly kindness; combative while giving one and all a nice smile.


Of course, Republicans will do their best to tie him to Blago, whatever happens to the Blagovernor, and he’ll have a lot of explaining to do to voters who believe Blago is more crooked than the average Illinois governor. But Democrats in Illinois could do a lot worse than having Burris, as an incumbent, running for the seat two years from now.


In any case, Burris is going to win this fight. Reid and company don’t have a legal leg to stand on. Their hope of winning lay with scaring Blago and any prospective appointee off, and they failed at that. So they might as well welcome the guy and make the best of it.

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  • Kate L

    He’s neither “tough enough to win” nor “strong.” Here’s the facts.

    Although he was elected 4 times in Illinois, he’s LOST the last *five* Democratic primaries, including those for Senator, Governor, and Chicago mayor. Clearly his career as an *elected* official in Illinois has run its course. With 5 losses in a row, there’s no reason to believe he could hold the seat in 2010.

    Second, that circus in D.C. wasn’t about “moxie” or strength.” It was about pure ego. The man has a giant granite monument to himself with “Trail Blazer” carved on it, along with a list of ‘accomplishments.’ And to drive the ego point still further, his kids are named Roland and Rolanda. He has said “God has ordained” his appointment and is already demanding to be called “Senator” even though he hasn’t been sworn in.

    We may be stuck with him, but 5 consecutive losses would indicate we won’t be keeping him. And the Illinois GOP can hardly wait.

  • http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com rawdawgbuffalo

    when will the senate GROW UP and stop playing Monkey in the middle

  • kranky kritter

    Maybe Burris wins the battle to be seated, but does he win the war to stay on as a legitimately appointed senator?

    The tale I see unfolding here is one where a corrupt governor who has been caught red-handed vindictively makes an appointment that he ought not to have made under the circumstances. Blago chose to USE Burris, and Burris has gone along because he thinks this is his last shot at the big leagues. So there’s the tang of sweaty desperation about it all.

    Let’s face it, regardless of Burris’s noticeable merits, he’s in a position that’s fairly analagous to that of a scab worker. People think he doesn;’t deserve to have the job he’s claiming a right to.

    But still it’s an unusual position, because while most folks agree that Blago ought not to have made the appointment, the person he appointed appears to be acceptable in all respects except that Blago was the one who appointed him. That’s what makes it all so very absurd.

  • kranky kritter

    Kate thanks for the background. I wasn’t aware there was such a strong egomaniac thread woven into all this.

  • http://itsthe21stcenturystupid.wordpress.com Jim S

    Kate, I don’t think the GOP should be all that optimistic mostly because I don’t think that Burris would even survive the primaries.

  • ExiledIndependent

    I don’t see moxie here. I see someone who simply understands Constitutional law, which means that no matter what anyone else says, this guy is the senator. So all he has to do is stay cool, sit back and wait for the lawyers to give Reid his “aw crap” message.

    And this guy *does* have ties to governor B. Doesn’t make him crooked, but let’s not paint him as some sort of outsider.

  • http://thecrossedpond.com/ Brad Porter

    I got to throw in with Burke here; living in Chicago, I and a lot of my neighbors have found ourselves going from umbrage at the appointment to really pulling for the guy.

    Yeah, he’s a perennial loser, and clearly a big part of this Senate seat thing has to do with wanting to be able to include “United States Senator” on his tombstone, but you know what, so what? Losing elections doesn’t make you a bad public servant (just like winning elections doesn’t make you a good one), and frankly his detractors have no case whatsoever. Burris is the legal Senator from the Illinois—it’s flagrantly ridiculous to not seat him, and we all know it’s even more flagrantly illegal. Despite the intense, intense spotlight on him, nobody can drum up even a second-rate allusion of pay-to-play here, and the precedent that Secretary of States have veto power of a Governor’s legal appointments in the absence of ANY convictions against said governor is a pretty rank notion. I also remain thoroughly unclear that the Senate has the authority to not seat Burris, but even if they do, it’ll be the first time they’ve exercised it without even an accusation of misconduct against the appointee or even a thread of a legal case against his appointment (plenty of indicted criminals return to Congress nearly every session, let’s remember, and does anyone believe Stevens or Jefferson wouldn’t have been seated, ultimately, if they came back)?

    Hell, I even think that Burris would make a pretty good Senator, and he is about the only major player in this entire thing that does NOT really have blood on his hands. The Illinois Democratic machine is a wreck and a disgrace. Blago is a tumor, not the cancer. If Burris runs in 2010, I’ll vote for him.

    And all this stuff of “but could he win reelection in 2010” is the sort of partisanship that turns my nose. If the Democrats don’t believe he’s got a shot, they’re welcome to run people against him in the primary. It’s a little hard to get high and mighty about the whole thing, though, if what it comes down to your own desire to game the system to keep your party in power. I have precisely no respect for Quinn and the rest who could throw it to the voters if they were interested in the integrity of the seat, but would much prefer just bypassing the entire impeachment, conviction, and primary process and just have Harry Reid allow the state’s party elders to pick whoever the hell they want despite having no legal authority to do so.

    You don’t seat Burris now, and that’s a bad, bad precedence that we’re going to be aching from down the road.

  • sus

    I’m with Kate. It’s about the EGO. I read the wikipedia entry as well. Rolando? Roland Jr.? and… oh my God… the photo of the Monument he has already built for himself… just way over the top.

  • http://thecrossedpond.com/ Brad Porter

    Yes, God forbid Roland Burris brings an overinflated sense of personal importance to the United States Congress.