Fighting The Good Fight
Jane Hamsher has written a good piece on the Burris mess over at Huffington Post, including a round-up of opinion. She highlights the opinions of Walter Dellinger, former solicitor general, who implored the senate to be very cautious and follow the intent of the constitution, which I think is correct.
If we are serious about the "rule of law" our first principle should be that the Senate's power to decide (even if unreviewable) is the always and only the power to decide correctly under the law, not the power to decide however the majority of the Senate prefers to decide. The fact that some grounds for rejecting Burris might be unreviewable by the courts means that the Senate should take more care, not less, to be sure it is acting a constitutionally legitimate manner.
The fact is that the Senate Dems have been reacting like shrieking, maiden aunts in a roomful of bats, lurching from one outraged reaction to the next without any kind of due consideration as to the legality or the political ramifications. One wonders where this level of energy and scorn was when the Republicans were making fools of them over and over again.
I assume the Senate Dems feel that they have to assert themselves or risk being seen as weak. They are, as Jane points out, afraid that John Cornyn will hang Burris around their necks. But unfortunately, they are asserting themselves in a way that simultaneously appears to be petty, unlawful, panicked and potentially even racist. At the very least they are escalating a distracting political circus at a time of great national crisis, which hardly seems like a smart way to start the new Democratic era. I'm all for fighting the good fight, but it would probably be more useful to do it over something that actually matters.
But hey, maybe it's actually good for them to have a big public, interparty hissy fit right now. With enough practice on each other, they might develop enough courage and skill to outmaneuver the Republicans someday.
Update: Oh Ferchristsake!