According to news reports, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is prepared to have armed guards bar Roland Burris from the Senate floor, despite the fact that Burris has been legally appointed to Barack Obama’s open Senate seat by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. At the same time, Reid is praising the unlawful refusal of the Illinois Secretary of State to certify the Burris appointment, in order to create a pretext for Reid not to seat Burris.
Regardless of what you think of Blagojevich, Reid’s conduct is troubling. The justification for Reid’s actions is that Blagojevich allegedly attempted to sell the open Senate seat. But there is no allegation that Blagojevich attempted to sell it to Burris.
Will Reid also bar Caroline Kennedy from the floor of the Senate? As with Burris, there is no allegation of bribery or other misconduct in Caroline’s attempt to get appointed to Hillary Clinton’s open seat, but a lot of people (including Democrats) are against the appointment. Some say Caroline is using her family name and connections to Obama to get an appointment which others deserve. Surely, there must be some small measure of moral outrage in Reid’s heart at the notion that family dynasties should prevail over hard-working Democrats who have toiled their entire lives seeking higher political office.
The double standard applied to Burris and Caroline Kennedy can not be justified by the allegations against Blagojevich since the allegations have nothing to do with Burris. Moreover, there is scant “proof” at this point of an attempt by Blagojevich to sell the seat. The only proof is the criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who has refused to release the evidence supporting this allegation, has asked the Illinois House impeachment committee not to investigate this allegation, and has asked the federal court for a three month extension of time to bring an indictment. The federal criminal complaint recites parts of conversations which may support the allegation, but as the Rodney King case showed, snippets of tape may not be enough to result in a conviction.
Since when do Democrats simply take the word of a prosecutor that someone is guilty? It may be that Blagojevich is a crook and will serve time in prison, but that doesn’t justify Harry Reid acting like a crook as well.