Blocking The Schoolhouse Door
The picture at the top of this story is even worse than the outcome. Roland Burris looks like one of the Little Rock Nine trying to get into the schoolhouse.
Roland W. Burris, the would-be junior senator from Illinois, arrived at the Capitol on Tuesday morning for the start of the 111th Congress and was greeted like a celebrity, even though he remains a private citizen, at least for the moment.
Mr. Burris, who shortly before his arrival had insisted he was “certainly not looking for drama,” found himself caught up in a comedy of sorts. Looking unsettled and with rain glistening on his topcoat, he entered the building to encounter a mob of reporters and photographers.
Capitol police officers tried to clear a path for Mr. Burris. “You can’t keep a regular citizen from walking into the Capitol,” one officer shouted.
Somehow, Citizen Burris made his way to the office of Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, to whom he presented his credentials, only to have her reject them. Afterward, the aspiring legislator stood in the rain outside and declared, “Members of the media, my name is Roland Burris, the junior senator from the State of Illinois.”
It didn't matter that Burris wasn't looking for drama, because the press was, and they found it. I am gleeful to be away from a TV set today, because I can imagine the cable news yakkers are being brutal. The racial component to this, from the standpoint of optics, is undeniable and not worth fighting. It looks really bad.
Thank you, Senate vacancy process of gubernatorial appointments!