Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roland Burris

It looks like Roland Burris will be Obama's replacement in the United States Senate. That's nice for him.

I find it difficult to get worked up over this. It looks like the Senate Dems made a minor tactical mistake when they said that they weren't going to seat him, but these things blow over quickly.

I'm reminded of the old saying that those who like sausage and legislation should watch neither being made. Gamesmanship has been part of politics since politics was invented. This is all perfectly normal. I'm sure that, if you look into the history of Congress, there have been many episodes that are variations on this. Someone in the throes of a scandal does something weird or stupid or against the interests of his/her colleagues, which causes a strong adverse reaction.

What's different about this scandal is that it's taking place on a national (or world) stage, whereas before these things happened behind closed doors, or only within a select group of people. So it seems strange only because so many people aren't used to it. But it's really pretty normal.

Well, maybe not quite "normal." The circumstances of every scandal are unique. That's one reason they're so interesting. But Blago hasn't been convicted, and Burris hasn't done anything wrong, besides having a large ego. But, as Gail Collins points out:

Worst-case scenario, Illinois gets an overly self-involved lawmaker who seems, at this point in his life, to have a tendency to say things that sound somewhat silly. If that was a disqualification, the Senate could never meet a quorum call again.
The people of Illinois could do worse. And they have.

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