She Happens To Be Right On This One
Dianne Feinstein says that Roland Burris ought to be seated. She was one of the 50 Senators who signed that letter urging Rod Blagojevich to resign and imploring him not to make an appointment. And Burris should have not turned himself into a national joke by accepting it. But once all that was done, legally there is no reason not to seat a legitimate appointment by a governor who hasn't even been indicted, let alone impeached. Politically there may be a problem, but there's a problem on both sides - obviously seating Burris would create a "culture of corruption" problem in the Democratic caucus, but what's happening right now looks TERRIBLE politically, like blocking the schoolhouse door. Feinstein's stepping out, but she's on pretty firm legal ground.
Meanwhile, Burris is meeting with Democratic leaders today, and hopefully the three of them can come up with a strategy that defuses the politics of this, whether that means seating him or not. Burris' lawsuits will probably be wrapped up, in his favor, before Blagojevich is impeached and convicted and a new Illinois governor can make an appointment. So they'd better find a way out of this. The Quinn option may be a good one.
The key question now for Reid and Durbin: How do they find cover in a political story that has run amok? One idea being considered is to have Burris win an endorsement from the sitting lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn, one Democratic insider said.
A Democratic aide familiar with the process said that the idea of urging Quinn to endorse Burris is being seriously considered, and that strategy may emerge depending on the outcome of the meeting. Democrats are also considering urging Burris to not run in 2010 as one condition for their support, aides said.
In an interview with Politico on Tuesday, Reid said he would support a Quinn appointment, even if it was Burris.
Of course, I will once again say that the root problem here is the APPOINTMENT PROCESS itself.
Nate Silver has a bit more. Apparently a Gallup poll came out showing a narrow majority opposes Burris' seating; however, that same poll shows that people LOVE the idea of a special election.
UPDATE: The AP is reporting that the Senate will seat Burris, though Reid's office is denying it. I really have no sympathy for the Senate Dems on this one - they totally brought it on themselves.