Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 8, 2009

REPUBLICANS, BURRIS, AND BLAGO.... It's likely that the initial response from Senate Democrats to the Roland Burris appointment was driven, at least in part, by appearances. Reid & Co. didn't want Republicans to be able to attack them as tolerant of corruption, so Dems took a hard line.

Now, of course, that hard line is giving way to Burris' likely success in joining the Senate. And what do Republicans have to say about this? Not a whole lot.

Jon Kyl, last week, announced his belief that Burris' appointment was apparently legal and should be accepted by the Senate. Roll Call reports today that Republicans don't really have any interest at all in blocking Burris, and even National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said he's "inclined to seat him."

I mention this for two reasons. One, Burris joining the Senate now appears to be a near-certainty. And two, because Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa, who said yesterday that Burris has "got a perfect right to have that seat," pivoted to an absurd Blagojevich-related attack against Eric Holder, Barack Obama's Attorney General nominee.

"[Eric Holder] was a counsel or at least Governor Blagojevich had sought to have him involved with something with race tracks in Illinois and casinos, I think. And so we're trying to get freedom of information on that because we need to know what the relationship is with Governor Blagojevich. And I don't say that in denigrating in any way except Governor Blagojevich's recent troubles raises questions with anybody that's had a relationship with him.... [I]t's not going to be smooth sailing."

In reality, Blagojevich tried to hire Holder for some independent state review a few years back. The governor screwed up the process, Holder went back to D.C, and the two had no further connection. This, according to Grassley, should detract from Holder's nomination.

So, let's review. If Blagojevich picks an official to fill a Senate vacancy that he was trying to sell, Chuck Grassley thinks that official is fine. If Blagojevich unsuccessfully tried to hire a lawyer for a state review, this constitutes a "relationship," which "raises questions."

Obama and the Democratic leadership on the Hill seem to genuinely believe they can work cooperatively with congressional Republicans. I have a hunch Republicans aren't going to make this easy.

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (8)

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Comments

If I were a Republican, I would avoid using the words "freedom of information."

Posted by: Winknandanod on January 8, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

I still think that Republicans are going to overplay their hand. People don't want to talk about Marc Rich, Elian Gonzalez and Terri Schiavo. It is disappointing from Grassley. You expect this kind of stoogery from John Kyl or Inhofe. And Specter's just a sphincter.

As for Burris, it might be a good idea if someone could get him to play it with some gravitas ("I'm willing to help my state through this difficult time...") instead of acting like he Senator King Ralph, or the benchwarmer Coach Jeebus just called in to win the big game.

Posted by: Jim on January 8, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Reid needs to eliminate the filibuster immediately. But he won't, 'cause forwarding your party's agenda is wrong and mean.

Posted by: Mark on January 8, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

i dont expect much from Republicans, but I do expect better from fellow Iowans (except those in the western third. from Steve King i merely expect amusement.) i guess this is what happens when Grassley goes so long without a real challenge, or maybe his age is starting to catch up with him. either way, he's delivering some awfully weak tea on this one.

Posted by: zeitgeist on January 8, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Jim up above there, if Burris didn't have that shit eating grin on his face he'd get a lot more sympathy.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on January 8, 2009 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I've always enjoyed Grassley because he looks like a ruminant animal, his name includes "grass," he's from a classic farm state, and his opinions always seem ox-like.

Posted by: in vino veritas on January 8, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and the Democratic leadership on the Hill seem to genuinely believe they can work cooperatively with congressional Republicans. I have a hunch Republicans aren't going to make this easy.

Charlie Brown. Lucy. Football.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 8, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

If I were a republican ? I would go find a chair and sit and watch. Keep my mouth shut and listen.democrat's need no help in sinking their own flotation device.

Posted by: EC Sedgwick on January 8, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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