Monday, February 23, 2009

Can I Get You Anything, Senator? Your Hat & Coat, Perhaps?

© 2009 Leighann Lord

His chief of staff quit on Friday. President Obama supports an investigation. The Congressional Budget Office called Kinkos and put Senator Roland Burris’ new business cards on hold. The much beleaguered Senator is catching a major case of the beltway brush off.

He is being asked to resign for not disclosing the contact he had with advisors of former Governor Blago. Given the troubled history of the Senator’s appointment, it would seem even the slightest appearance of impropriety cannot be tolerated. But did we all suddenly forget from whence Mr. Burris hails?

Presidents Lincoln and Obama notwithstanding, aren’t we supposed to grade Illinois politicians on a curve? They get an asterisk next to their names like steroid-filled baseball players. Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record – nudge, nudge, wink, wink; insert asterisk here.

As a native New Yorker I enjoy the same leeway when it comes to jay walking. I know if I were stopped by a police officer in another city for exercising my birth right, he’d take one look at my New York State drivers license, beg my pardon and tell me to have a nice day. Right?

Senator Burris should ride out the storm, at least until they change the locks on his office door. Unemployment benefits are okay, but a Senator’s pension is better. This tough economic environment is not the time to go job hunting. Even if he scores an interview, he’ll have a hard time answering the question why he left his last job. It’s doubtful Congress will give him a reference.

If all else fails, he can use the Michael Phelps/A-Rod defense: “I was young and stupid.” Maybe the Senator even has an unnamed cousin he can throw to the investigative wolves.


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