Politics

Burris shows he’s tough enough to be a successful candidate in 2010

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Roland “I am the Senator” Burris after Senate turned him away

I’m starting to like this Burris guy. OK, so he’s Rod Blagojevich’s personal choice to fill Obama’s vacant Senate seat, which is a very, very bad way to start a Senate career.  Still, he’s showing himself to be smart, cool, dignified, and capable of marching right up to Harry Reid and all the rest to claim his seat.

 

Few pols have that kind of genuine moxie. Oh, sure, they talk about strength and courage and what not, but put a little pressure on them — say, the pressure of the whole national Democratic Party leadership — and not many wouldn’t fold. But Chicago’s Roland Burris seems positively eager for a fight.

 

A major factor in the way Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and others have backed themselves into their present corner is the sense they seem to have that no African-American — especially not one chosen by Blago — will win election to a full term in 2010, handing the seat to the GOP. (And of course, the reason both the Senate and Illinois Democratic leaders backed away from their initial call to strip Blago of the appointment power and set a special election was that the GOP might win the special.) But Burris is proving himself to be one tough cookie. He’s shrewd, yet disarmingly smooth; sharp, while exuding a kind of grandfatherly kindness; combative while giving one and all a nice smile.

 

Of course, Republicans will do their best to tie him to Blago, whatever happens to the Blagovernor, and he’ll have a lot of explaining to do to voters who believe Blago is more crooked than the average Illinois governor. But Democrats in Illinois could do a lot worse than having Burris, as an incumbent, running for the seat two years from now.

 

In any case, Burris is going to win this fight. Reid and company don’t have a legal leg to stand on. Their hope of winning lay with scaring Blago and any prospective appointee off, and they failed at that. So they might as well welcome the guy and make the best of it.

(Visit me at The Purple Center)