Wednesday, January 07, 2009

USA to Illinois: No. --UPDATED

Here in California, our senators have been pretty much set in stone since Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein were both elected in 1992. Since they’re both older Jewish Democrat gals with a penchant for power suits, how do we tell them apart? Simple. Boxer is the smart liberal whom we’re pretty much always proud of. Feinstein is the one with the naked ambition and the “centrist” (read Republican) tendencies. My theory is that she wants to be The Next Hillary, and she’s kicking up a fuss over Obama’s nominee to head the CIA to prove that she’s got mad spook cred. She thinks that Obama’s guy doesn’t have enough intelligence experience. Hey, YOU try finding someone with CIA on his resume who isn’t painted with the Gitmo taint.

The Gitmo taint is some powerful stanky taint, readers, more powerful even than the Blagojevich taint, from what I hear.

And speaking of the Blagojevich taint...

Boo. Bad. Very very very very bad for Illinois. And no, I don’t care that Obama got Reid to agree to seat Roland Burris. Neither do I care that our own Feinstein inexplicably stepped up to caution against turning Burris away from the Senate door. Perhaps it was payback for Obama's apology to her for not consulting her on the spy guy.

And no, I also don’t care that the formerly cool formerly Black Panther Congressman Bobby Rush likened the Senate to a “plantation,” and Burris to some kind of latter-day Mandingo. Um, just kidding about the Mandingo part.

But only just.

So, in case the press hasn't made it clear yet, Roland Burris is a joke, and I’ll give you 3 reasons why:

  1. His 2 kids are named Roland Burris and Rolanda Burris. Rolanda. C'mon, even George Foreman would blush at Rolanda.

  1. He seems to have trouble distinguishing tombstones from resumes.

Wait, I just remembered another one. Make that 4 reasons:

  1. He thinks that his appointment was ordained by God. Haven’t we learned by now that remarks like that are never a good sign?

Sorry, 5. I got 5. Wait, 6.

  1. He believes that Illinois deity Abraham Lincoln is not only aware of the job he’s doing, but gave him an excellent performance review.

  1. He cried racism where none existed, and by doing so has cheapened a claim that should never, ever, be invoked in bad faith.

Okay, 7. But that’s it.

  1. When asked whether he would run for re-election when his appointee term was up, he said “Let me get my Senate legs under me and get in and raise some money to pay for all this stuff.” Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed a preview of the Roland Burris legislative agenda.

  1. He weighed another man’s life against a negligible risk to his political ambitions and chose…his political ambitions.

Are we seeing the common thread yet?

You know, the late, great Mayor Harold Washington once famously explained to the city of Chicago what “hubris” was. I can see now that there are at least two Illinois politicians who clearly were not paying attention.


UPDATE 1/8/09:

Well, that didn't take long. Burris, who was called in today to testify in front of the Illinois House impeachment committee, has admitted that he spoke to a representative of Blago's regarding the empty Senate seat.

What so bad about that? Only that he swore an affidavit stating that he had no such contact.

The Best Part: Burris defended himself by saying that he had originally contacted Blago's rep (actually a former chief of staff and close friend of the governor) not to lobby for the Senate seat, but to try to drum up state business for his consulting firm.

Because that's so much better.


Doc said...

It is for informative articles like this that keep me coming back here time and again. Well, that and your biting wit.

I prefer to get my news here rather than anywhere else as your "Bullshit Detector" goes to eleven and you know how to use it.

The little bit that I've read about Burris mildly suggested that he was a bit shady, but after reading this, he sounds like the worst kind of politician and a morally bankrupt person.

I am not the slightest bit surprised that he invoked the name of God, but I am grossly appalled that he would call on the name of Lincoln! S.O.B.


vikkitikkitavi said...

Thanks, Doc. You know, I haven't really touched on the monies contributed to Blago by Burris's consulting group because that's all still shaping up in the media.

But it doesn't really matter. His appalling and if you ask me, illegal treatment of Rolando Cruz in that death penalty case is reason enough to ban him from public service for life.

Bubs said...

Funny that Diane Feinstein would be allowed near anything having to do with intelligence, since when she was mayor of San Francisco she revealed details about evidence in the Richard Ramirez "Night Stalker" investigation.

Roland Burris is an amiable empty suit, and he hasn't held office or won an election in over a decade. Blagojevich can thank Burris for running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and taking enough black votes away from Paul Vallas so that Blago could harness the white ethnic machine and win the nomination.

deadspot said...

Barrrnt! Sorry, but you're wrong.

If someone being a dick is reason enough to set aside constitutional law, we'd have been rid of the Bush regime a long, long time ago.

Blagojevich is, at least for now, governor of Illinois, and he is, at least until proven guilty, innocent. The Illinois constitution says he fills a vacant senate seat, full stop. There is no role defined in that document for the Senator from Nevada, the media, the Democratic leadership, public opinion, or the U.S. Senate.

...or sound judgment, for that matter. Was it a good idea? No. Is it perfectly legal? Yes. And that's why the head of the Senate rules committee "inexplicably" said Burris should be seated.

If the body that writes our laws can't be bothered to follow them, maybe it's time for them all to step down.

Michael said...

I think I am more or less with deadspot on this one. This is not a question of propriety. God knows you can forget the appearance thereof argument as well; that one has been shot to hell so many times it can't possibly float again.

The only real weapon anyone had against the governor was the will to pressure him out of office, couple with the public airing of evidence against him. I haven't followed the details of that closely, but hasn't the federal proseuctor dropped his pants on that one? My initial hunch: fatal tactical error.

Once peer pressure failed, I don't see what legal basis anyone had or has for blocking Burris.

deadspot said...

Sorry, Vikki. Now that I've had my USRDA of caffeine, I can see that I was being kind of a jackass this morning. Mea culpa. Genetic predisposition and whatnot. I should have made my point that the institution trumps the individuals in a less assholey kind of way.

Burris and Blagojevich are tools, especially Blagojevich, but the guys trying to hijack the process are just as bad, if not worse. We have a lot of scumbag politicians in Illinois. I think I read somewhere that they're our 4th largest cash crop, right behind corn, soybeans, and pot.

Anonymous said...

He named his kids Roland Jr. and Rolanda? He built his own little Rolandopolis? I'll bet he keeps Rolos in a little glass jar on his desk. Well, he won't be the only wacko in the Senate.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Actually, guys, nowhere in my post do I argue that the Senate has the power to deny him a seat. That's not for me to decide, unfortunately.

But I'm not merely arguing that he's a huge dick.

For one thing, he ignored the illegal behavior of prosecutors and investigators in a death row case, and allowed his own justice-seeking employees who sought to right the situation to resign in disgust. That's morally reprehensible in the least, and possibly illegal as well.

For second, we now know that he did not tell the truth to investigators from Fitzgerald's office regarding the selling of Obama's seat. Does lying under oath in a criminal investigation qualify as grounds not to seat Burris?

Probably not in Illinois. Probably not in the US Senate either.

Michael said...

I thought you were arguing he was a hack politcian with dubious credentials and bad judgement. That makes him a Senator to me. If can put a felony conviction with that, then you have the makings of a big-city mayor.

Ok, maybe my cynicism is overdone, but the question is real enough. How does all this crap (minus the update) make Burris any different, really, from the mean average of the bottom of the barrel political types we seem not to mind?

deadspot said...

I read the article in the update and that's some pretty weak sauce. "Close friend" and "representative" are not the same thing.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Regarding his affidavit, the point is that Burris spoke to Monk knowing Monk would speak to Blago. Monk's relationship with Blago is well understood in Illinois. Monk was acting as a representative of Blago's, whether it says that on his current resume or not. Would you argue that Rove was not a representative of Bush's if he acted in a similar way?

And as far as I'm concerned he should be disbarred and prosecuted for his actions in the Rolando Cruz case. That's not something that can be laughed off or dismissed as political antics.

Burris is a Chicago machine hack of the highest order, and his appointment is pure patronage. Illinois took an important step forward when they elected Obama to office. Too often they have settled for other machine hacks like Alan Dixon and Carol Mosely Braun. To replace Obama with yet another corrupt cog in the Chicago machine would be a shame and a mistake.

And for the record, Burris is not the first Illinois politician to have been turned away from his seat in the Senate for suspicion of corruption, in spite of having been lawfully appointed by a governor. Check out Frank Leslie Smith.

bubbles said...

Being the simpleton that I am I think that Blago and Burris smell like poop and anything that can be done to keep them from influencing the federal government in any way is a good idea. Haven't we got enough stink there already?

Sorry if that sounds ignorant. It just seems simple to me. Senate seats aren't for sale. If your state is considering impeachment, perhaps your judgement should be questioned... ya know? See? I'm such a simpleton.

bubbles said...

Oh, and Roland Jr. and Rolanda? Holy Cow. Wrong on so many levels.

dguzman said...

I feel like if a guy (Blago) is under indictment for/convicted of a crime, he should not be allowed to continue in his post for any reason, period. Thus, all the Larry Craigs and Blagos and Tom Delays would be kicked out on their asses. "Innocent until proven guilty!" one might argue--but that applies to you and me, the plain old citizen. An elected official should be held to a higher standard.

Of course, my feelings are not the law or whatever.

Dad E said...

I watched Burris during a gobernatorial debate hoping to find someone other than Blago to vote for and concluded that the man is a ego centered dufus. His image of himself is not based in what one may reasonably call reality. He reminds me of a store front church minister who must constantly convince his flock how accomplished he is.

That said, he will not be the worst senator in the senate, just one of the worst senators from Illinois who for the most part have been people of substance and integrity if you subtract Mosely-Braun.

It hurts me to listen to the man. And, yes, he thinks his main job will be to get re-elected.

Oh, and Bobby Rush is a racist. And Jesse White is a man of principle.

Michael said...

Having listened to the Dems back down as gracefully as they could from blocking Burris, I'm...gads, I don't know what I am.

I was thinking I'd be sad, speaking up for the difference between political pressure that is absolutely correct, in my view, and the law. But y'know, now I'm thinking that observing the law, whether it gets you what you want or not, has its own purpose. And, frankly, it's one kind of relief to see the written rules prevail over executive will or political outrage.

The Dems played their hand well and to the end. It just didn't work out, at least not for those who want a cleaner government and better leadership. Remember your votes, Illinois. You had a choice.