Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Roland Down The River

Josh Marshall gets it

Agreeing with Dianne Feinstein, he recognizes that Rod Blagojevich -- disgraced in the public eye as he may be -- is still the governor of Illinois. He has the power to fill the vacant US Senate seat. He has done so. No one has charged Roland Burris with any sort of corruption -- and for an Illinois politician, that's saying a whole heckuva lot.

The longer Democrats refuse to seat him, they look, at best, politically venal -- obsessed with keeping the seat, they won't relent until someone other than Blagojevich appoints a senator who won't have the scandal hanging around their neck in 2010.

At worst, well barring one black man from taking his seat in the Senate -- when Reid "can't remember" whether he specifically told Blagojevich not to appoint Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Denny Davis and Senate Minority Leader Emil Jones (three black men) -- may not be as racist as it looks. But it's pretty damn close.

By the way, Harry Reid might want to realize that racism takes many forms: No one is suggesting that Reid wouldn't want any of those men in the US Senate, simply because they are black.

But there is, to use one of George W. Bush's better political expressions, "the soft bigotry of low expectations." Trying to block an appointment because you think a given individual can't win statewide -- if part of your reasoning is derives from an assumption that voters won't support a black man, is, yes, a subtle form of racism -- even though it is dependent on the implied racism of others for it to be present.

As a Republican, I'm amused by the entire process.

But if Reid were smart, he would just realize that Blagojevich has outsmarted them on this, let Burris take the seat -- and move on (unless he plans on allowing Burris a three-fifths vote. Heh heh). Who knows? If Democrats have a successful couple of years -- and Obama campaigns for Burris (assuming he runs in 2010) -- maybe they can retain the seat. But the longer this situation plays out, the odds actually get better for the GOP -- regardless of whom is sitting in the seat.

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