Harry Reid Gets Played By Blagojevich, Blows It with Burris
I want to play poker with Harry Reid. Really I do.
Rather than call for a special election in Illinois to fill Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, Reid sends a letter to Rod Blagojevich signed by everyone in the Democratic caucus asking him to step down. They assert that they will not seat anyone he appoints.
Blago wipes his ass with it and appoints Burris anyway.
Burris holds a press conference and announces he will be in D.C. on Tuesday to be sworn in with the rest of the Senate. Bobby Rush plays the race card. Reid does not see the handwriting on the wall.
He counters by calling Secretary of State Jesse White, who has already said he won't sign Burris's certification, and encourages him. What White is doing is most certainly outside his legal authority -- the Secretary of State doesn't have veto power. But Reid not only gives White a high five, he tells him they'll use this to keep Burris from being seated.
Then he smugly chortles about how he'll manipulate Senate procedure and punt to the Rules Committee, and assures everyone that they will drag things out for months if necessary until Blago is impeached and his successor appoints someone else. And he does it in the press.
Upon reading this, Cornyn announces that Franken won't have a signed certification either, and the GOP will use it to keep him from being seated,
Reuters: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken."
Blago laughs out loud. This is amateur night in Dixieland. He leaks to the press that he spoke with Reid before the election, and that Reid didn't think any of the African American candidates vying for the seat were "electable," while Tammy Duckworth was. He stirs up the potential jury pool and makes Reid look like an idiot -- the day before Reid is set to appear on Meet the Press.
Reid looks like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs on Meet the Press. Nobody knows how much Fitz has (not even Fitz, who is still trying to transcribe his tapes) or how much he'll need to reveal to prove his case, so Reid says he "doesn't remember" his conversation with Blago, but calls Blago a liar anyway. When asked if he supported Jesse Jackson Jr. for the Senate seat, he says he would support him. And admits that there's "room to negotiate" on Burris.
Burris appears at the Senate on Tuesday. Gets turned away. Could Reid look any worse?
Obama stares down DiFi, appoints Panetta to the CIA, and the NYT breaks the story before she's told (but Ron Wyden already knows). DiFi's fuming.
Despite having been one of the 50 Senators who signed Reid's letter saying Burris would never be seated, she announces that as the outgoing head of the Rules Committee she thinks the Senate has no choice but to seat him.
(Good timing, because Charlie Rangel is already complaining about the Rules Committee dragging its feet.)
Reid can't hold his own caucus in line. Blames Rahm. Gives interview saying "I don't work for Barack Obama."
WaPo: "Burris Backs Reid Into a Corner."
A seventy-one year old dude who hasn't held office for 14 years, appointed by a crook, takes the Senate Majority Leader to the cleaners.
Reid is a red state senator, up for re-election in 2010 and under pressure from the right, who is already making noise about appeasing Republicans who aren't going to be appeased. He's a hazard to Obama's agenda, which is why leading Senate Democrats tried to ease him out as Majority Leader last year.
See: Daschle, Tom.
Burris will be seated. He's not gonna deal.
Why should he?
He's playing poker with Harry Reid.