MSNBC analyst Jim Warren, discussing the Rod Blagojevich-Roland Burris mess, sounded a deeply cynical note yesterday on Hardball with Chris Matthews and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cynical, but probably right:
Warren: And one vision you didn't -- along with, you know, Lynn's vision of what might happen tomorrow, one we should have that would make us slightly dyspeptic, is that of Rod Blagojevich back there grinning like a Cheshire Cat, because -- the Saturday Night Live caricature aside, the bipartisan animus toward him aside, the likelihood that he will be indicted aside -- he has every legal right to do this. And I think he has pulled one over on Harry Reid and Dick Durbin. And Harry Reid is left looking like some parent huffing and puffing and warning his kid that there's gonna be big punishment unless he does what he says, and then the kid doesn't stop doing it, and then Harry Reid doesn't have anything left to go to, unless what? He's going to send it to the Rules Committee? And Chuck Schumer, head of the Rules Committee? Who wants Al Franken seated ASAP because Minnesota's gotta have two senators on that floor as quickly as possible. Boy, I think Blagojevich has really played this in the most cynical but adroit of ways.
Sweet goes on to suggest that Reid may cave if Burris agrees not to run in two years, but then Warren appropriately notes that Burris doesn't believe he has anything to negotiate.
I'm not sure why Burris needs it explained to him that Blagejovich himself tainted the process of selecting this Senate seat by his own actions and words, and that anyone he chose would be similarly tainted. It's kind of sad, really.
Let's just say that this is not an auspicious start to a Senate career, much less a Democratic defense of that seat. A better man would not have let himself be so tainted. Hell, even Danny Davis -- who hasn't enough sense not to take part in coronation ceremonies for Rev. Moon -- thought better of this.
Roland Burris may believe he has the legal right to this seat. But politically, it's another story. The voters of Illinois have no reason whatsoever to believe that he was chosen with their best interests in mind, because they have very good reason to believe Blago was only looking out for himself. They have no reason to believe otherwise now. This selection was Blago's, and because of that, it will always be about Blago.
Burris may force himself upon the Senate, but he may want to savor his two years while they last.