Mr. Burris Goes To Washington

John Hinderaker writes, “The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that Governor Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of Roland Burris’ to the Senate does not require the Secretary of State’s signature to be valid”:


he unanimous ruling came as no surprise, but it stripped Senate Democrats of their principal excuse for barring Burris from taking the seat to which he has been appointed. It now appears that Mr. Burris will soon be Senator Burris after all.

Meanwhile, “Dems Melt in the Heat of Burris Fiasco“, Jonah Goldberg observes:

Now, I certainly understand why Reid & Co. caved. For starters, Reid’s not exactly the brightest crayon in the box.

But why all the fuss in the first place? Isn’t this how it always works? The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, an impressive African-American writer, is amazed that “Reid has been outmaneuvered by the sort of overt, hamfisted identity politics deployed in the ’70s.”

The ’70s? So this sort of thing stopped more than three decades ago? I had no idea. What planet do my newscasts come from?

I thought this was simply what liberals and Democrats do. When Newt Gingrich introduced the Contract with America, black Democrats denounced it as racist. Charlie Rangel proclaimed, “Hitler wasn’t even talking about doing these things.” When impeachment threatened Bill Clinton, he draped himself in black ministers and staffers. The NAACP ran an ad narrated by the daughter of James Byrd, a black man brutally murdered in a hate crime, insinuating that then-presidential candidate George W. Bush’s refusal to support hate-crime legislation in Texas was like murdering her father again. In the recent campaign, nearly the entire liberal punditocracy insisted that opposition to Barack Obama could only be explained by racism, a story line egged on by Obama himself when convenient.

And don’t tell me Blago’s corruption changes the equation. Has anyone read about the baleful history of minority set-aside programs in cities like Chicago? Cronies and grifters are routinely given sweetheart contracts under the guise of fighting discrimination when in reality it’s all a riot of kickbacks, “pay-to-play” and cronyism. People don’t call Jesse Jackson a shakedown artist for nothing.

There are two reasons why this spectacle shocks some liberals. The first is that Blago, Burris, and Rush used this tactic on fellow Democrats. And since Democrats can’t be motivated by racism, any ploy like this must be cynical. When the same gambit is used on Republicans, it’s called “speaking truth to power.” Second, some honestly believed that Obama represented a real change of the racial landscape. So far, alas, these folks just look naive.


Finally, in the face of impeachment, Gov. Blagojevich stands tall: “A Blagojevich spokesman said the governor will not resign.”

Allahpundit asks, why would he?

He just got done rolling Harry Reid, and Fitzgerald’s indictment is still months away. I’m not even sure what the charges against him in the impeachment trial will be at this point. Supposedly he can no longer perform the duties of governor effectively. Really? He was effective enough to make the entire U.S. Senate choke on the Burris appointment.

And if all this sounds surreal so far, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Update: “Following a decision by the Illinois Supreme Court, Jesse White, the Illinois secretary of state, has certified Roland Burris’ appointment to the Senate, removing a major roadblock blocking Burris’ ascension to the body.” Does this make the headline above official? It seems likely that Harry Reid’s not going to offer very much additional pushback. But hey, between DC and Illinois, anything’s possible.


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