2/24 Breaking News Update:
The other Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, just spoke to reporters in Washington and described in detail his private meeting with Roland Burris this afternoon. Durbin recommended to Burris that he resign, and Burris refused to resign.
BurrisP asked to resign. Burris resignation.
It’s become a part of my morning routine. Get up, shower, grab some coffee and then check the news to see how Obama’s replacement, Senator Roland Burris, has changed his story today. It’s great entertainment.
Recently, the nation got a good look at the way politics works here in Chicago and Illinois. Governor Blagojevich gets caught on tape making profanity laced appeals for bribes in return for an appointment as Senator. It’s so routine here they have a name for it: pay-for-play. Poor Blago, he just got caught.
They say there were perhaps five candidates solicited for bribes. Fortunately, they say, before Blagojevich was impeached he was able to appoint a man of integrity, a long time fixture in Illinois politics, a man we could trust and who was free of any taint from this tawdry pay-for-play scandal: Roland Burris.
Burris testified under oath before the Blago impeachment committee in the State Legislature. He claimed he was clean, and he was showered with accolades from supporters here in Illinois. ‘A fine man, that Roland,’ they said. But then all of a sudden, about a month after being seated, things got weird. A “new and improved” affidavit shows up. It seems Roland needed a redo on his claim that ‘he never spoke with Blagojevich or his aids’ about money for the seat.
You see, it turns out Mr. Burris did speak with Blagojevich’s brother. His defense?? (paraphrased) “Well, I couldn’t answer, you during the impeachment hearing. You didn’t let me finish my response to your question.”
I see. So much for “the whole truth.”
And just exactly what prompted Burris to redo his affidavit? Well, it seems there may be tapes. Oopsy! Now, in most venues the man would have immediately been branded a bald faced liar. But this is not “most places. This is Illinois, and Burris is a Democrat.
“Give him the benefit of the doubt,” they said.
But then a couple days later, in a press conference Burris was asked if he had ever raised money in exchange for the Senate seat. ‘Why no,’ he replied. But by the next day it was oopsy! II. Seems his original statement was no longer operative as they say. Now he claims that he didn’t mean he didn’t try to raise money……no, he said he wasn’t able to raise money.
See the difference?? It turns out he actually did try. Why the confession? Rumor has it those pesky tapes are a problem again. Now, by this time all but the brain damaged, like former Alderman Danny Davis, “get it.” Roland lied straight out, and again.
The press conference.
Reporter: “Do you think it was appropriate to be raising money for the governor while he was considering you for the Senate seat?”
Burris: “I was never considered for the Senate.”
Gathered Reporters: “WHAT!!” Guffaws. “Are you kidding?”
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. Burris looked like a scared deer on camera.
So, what is the lesson?
Is it the old, “the cover-up is worse than the crime?” The legal experts here believe that despite the preposterous fact set, a perjury rap can’t be made to stick.
Is it Burris’ public shame in the loss of his reputation? Wait. He’s an Illinois politician. Scratch that. The reality is that the majority view here is that if he just filibusters he will keep the seat. So “up yours Illinois,” is a winning strategy!
I’m afraid the real lesson is that we have a lazy voting public that simply puts up with this, especially if it’s their own party affiliation misbehaving.
In the first paragraph I said watching this was great entertainment. No its not. That was snark. Its actually very sad to see how little the public demands honesty, competency and accountability from its elected officials. California is bankrupt, Illinois is corrupt beyond imagination, Michigan is about to go under and the United States is shoveling money to bail out bad actors at a record pace.
You’d think people would be marching with proverbial torches and pitch forks. But no, we’ve just elected a President who promised change and all that, then immediately appointed a couple tax cheats to his cabinet. Ho-hum.
Let’s cut to the chase: There are some good basketball games on this week. And the government is going to send me a check, right? You know, the important stuff.
The lambs have lain down. That’s the lesson.