John Kass is better at finding people to blame than Roland Burris. In his column today, Kass blames President Obama for the Burris mess. Wow, now there's some well-thought out journalism. The Chicago Tribune shouldn't have even wasted the ink. Because Kass spends about half the article talking about Mayor Daley, Burris playing the race card, Blagojevich and the FBI wiretaps, etc. The only blame he puts on Obama is that Obama should have pushed for a special election for his Senate seat and that Obama wanted Burris seated so that Burris could vote in favor of the stimulus bill. Well, damn, there's a smoking gun if I ever saw one!
First, Obama did push for a special election, but I guess Kass didn't bother to research that. Or maybe Kass's use of the word "demanded" means he thought Obama should have pushed harder on the issue. But let's face it, other Illinois politicians also were asking for a special election, among other things. It was out there already. Obama also called for Blago's resignation. But I guess that wasn't "demanding" enough either. And frankly, on the heels of becoming our new president, Obama had a little more to worry about than just Illinois's troubles. He didn't create this mess, other than getting himself elected as president thereby leaving an empty Senate seat for the selling. Not his fault.
As for passage of the stimulus bill, I doubt Burris's one vote mattered all that much. Yes, the bill passed 60-38, so just barely. But with all the back and forth on the bill, I'm sure without that one vote, the Senate would have come to a resolution on the bill eventually. They couldn't do nothing. Even Republicans could understand that. Looking back, I believed Burris should be seated and the whole mess put behind us. The Senate had more pressing matters to deal with than the business of whether Burris should or should not be seated. They didn't need Illinois's mess in their house. Even though I was skeptical that Burris was appointed without giving Blago something in return, I hadn't seen or read anything saying he had, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
This mess is no one's fault but Blago's and Burris's. It's not on Rep. Jim Durkin for asking the wrong questions. It's not on Obama. It's not on other Illinois politicians. Blago appointed Burris, even though Blago should have left the task up to someone else (whether the people of Illinois by special election, or by resigning). Blago was given that authority by the Illinois Constitution. After Blago's arrest, there wasn't enough time to do anything to prevent what happened, to force Blago to do something other than what he did. Burris accepted the seat, because of his blind ambition. Burris wasn't completely truthful in his affidavits or his testimony. A mess has ensued. But it is a mess of their making, not anyone else's. Although I know how Kass likes to stick it to a Democrat.