So much for change, Barack Obama and Senate Democrats have suddenly decided that they can live with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s nominee for Obama’s Senate seat, Roland Burris. Since late December, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had drawn a clear line in the sand and dared Blagojevich and Burris to step across it:
Obama, December 30th: “The Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat. I agree…”
Reid, January 6th: “Mr. Burris is not in possession of the necessary credentials from the state of Illinois.”
However, Obama has since decided that he would rather have this embarrassment to go away quickly. If he had taken a stand sooner, Obama could have prompted Illinois politicians to take legal action that would have stripped Blagojevich of his ability to nominate someone for the Senate seat. Instead, Obama tried to distance himself from the corruption and stood by quietly. Blagojevich called everyone’s bluff and now the people of Illinois will be forced to accept Burris as their Senator. Obama has since decided that he wants this out of the headlines as soon as possible and called Harry Reid and told him to fix it. What a difference a few days made….
Obama, January 7th: “I think he’s a fine public servant. If he gets seated, then I’m going to work with Roland Burris, just like I work with all the other senators.”
Reid, January 7th: “We don’t have a problem with him…”
No one seems to care that Burris is far from the best candidate for the seat. Obama gets to put this embarrassment to bed quickly and Senate Democrats avoid a special election that could potentially risk losing a critical seat to Republicans. Who cares about the people of Illinois when you can protect party interests? Sounds like business as usual to me.