Commentary: Democratic leaders damaging Congress with Burris snub

This editorial appeared in The Tri-City Herald.

Indications are that President-elect Barack Obama has convinced the thicker heads in Congress to quit their obstinacy about Roland Burris.

It was a necessary step if the Democrats in Congress were sincere about bringing about the "change" Obama promised the voters.

It was beginning to look like the change ought to start with congressional leaders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., ought to either get with the program or get out of the way.

They're old-school partisans who seem only faintly interested in reaching across the aisle to work with Republicans unless pushed, as Obama now seems to be doing.

Reid has shown a breathtaking display of stubbornness and old-fashioned political cantankerousness in the case of Sen. Burris, D.-Ill.

In the process, he led the Democratic caucus into a kind of parody of responsible leadership.

Reid is legitimately scornful of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, who is under investigation for, among other things, trying to sell the appointment to Obama's old Senate seat.

Blagojevich, if guilty (and there seems little doubt about that), is contemptible and should spend some of the next few years in a federal penitentiary.

But he is charged, not convicted, and according to the law, he has the duty and responsibility to appoint Obama's successor.

After the scandal erupted, the governor backed off and made a surprisingly good choice for the Senate in Burris.

If Burris had been touched by allegations against Blagojevich, his appointment should have been challenged.

But that's not the case.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.

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