Saturday, January 3

BURYING BURRIS

Sam Smith

Bad as Rod Blagojevich may be, Harry Reid and other superlative hypocrites in the Senate are certainly giving him a run for his money. And they're getting aid from liberal Democrats who are ready to dump basic principles - such as guilt being determined by a court and not by the media or a prosecutor - in hopes of saving themselves some embarrassment.

The hypocrisy includes the fact that the current Senate is the most corrupt in American history based on the amount of contributions accepted from those with clear intent to wrongfully influence legislation. The only real difference between Blagojevich and the Senate is that the former may have been too dumb to do it all under cover of law.

Further, journals such as Slate have come up with remarkably tortured arguments as to why the Senate should be allowed - essentially on an ad hoc basis and without any formal warning in advance - to determine who gets to join it. At the very least, however, the Senate's membership requirements should be as accessible to applicants as those of the Metropolitan Club.

CNN even reported that Senate Democrats were seriously dealing with the question of whether to arrest Burris should he show up seeking his seat:

"The first Democratic aide said if Burris tries to enter the Senate chamber on Tuesday, the Senate doorkeeper will stop him. If Burris were to persist, either trying to force his way onto the Senate floor or refusing to leave and causing a scene, U.S. Capitol police would stop him, the aide said. 'They [police] probably won't arrest him,' but they would call the Senate's sergeant-at-arms, the aide said."

The Democrats are not being driven by any new found love of integrity and the law. Rather they have been embarrassed and they're trying desperately to keep their distance from Blagojevich after rejecting the alternative of a special election, since that might add one more GOP senator.

A dignified and democratic solution would include an acceptance of the fact that Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois and entitled to act like one until the law says otherwise. It would also not engage in the semantic waterboarding of a somewhat obscure constitutional provision in order to satisfy only the most puerile of political goals. And the Senate should state its qualifications openly and not engage in ex post facto legislation, which a far more important section of the Constitution prohibits.

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