Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Burris Strategy

Brilliant or boneheaded?

Now that Blago has made the move of appointing Roland Burris to Obama’s senate seat we are all evaluating the strategy. It was both brilliant and boneheaded.

Brilliant because he chose a rather neutral candidate, one that is accepted by most of Blago’s enemies. Even those who dislike Burris are unwilling to venture into the land of racism to criticize him.

We’ve learned from the election that it would be suicide NOT to replace Obama with another black man.

Brilliant because it “proves” that all the deal making on tape was nothing more than bravado. Blago wouldn’t really sell the senate seat. It was all bluster and his real choice proves it.

Brilliant because it shifts the function of Blago’s detractors from prosecutors to defenders. They now must defend their position that Blago cannot name a successor with this cloud over his head. Well, can he? All sorts of lawyers and judges will take months to figure that out.

The first of these legal volleys questions Jesse White’s authority to deny approval. The second questions the senate’s right NOT to seat him. (Surely the Reed Smoot case from a century ago will somehow figure into the decision.)

But the move in boneheaded because the Gov was warned not to do it. Warned by Obama, Quinn, the US Senate, the Illinois Legislature…He’s acting like a defiant child and that isn’t a good idea when you may someday need some mercy.

Boneheaded on the part of Burris to accept the offer. What was he thinking? Everyone expected him to say, “Thanks, but no thanks. Not under these circumstances.” But he didn’t and that has created all sorts of extra work for the politicians and bureaucrats.

It’s a far cry from resignation, which would have pleased just about everyone.

Update: Burris is not a passive spectator here. He just filed a lawsuit because SOS Jesse White refused to certify Blago's choice. Note what I just wrote...BURRIS filed the lawsuit demanding the suit, not Blago. I guess at 71 Burris can afford to commit political hara-kiri.

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