Patterico's Pontifications

1/7/2009

Did Obama Throw Harry Reid Under the Bus?

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 8:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last Wednesday, Barack Obama said he supported the Senate Democrats’ efforts to prevent Roland Burris from serving as Senator from Illinois:

“Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat,” Obama said in a statement.

I agree with their decision, and it is extremely disappointing that Gov. Blagojevich has chosen to ignore it.”

Now we learn on Monday, the night before Burris was refused entry to the Senate, Obama may have asked the Democrats to change their position and accept Burris:

Obama had spoken to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday on the need to find a quick solution to defuse the dispute, according to Democratic officials. Reid was told by Obama that if Burris had the legal standing to be seated—despite controversy surrounding his appointment by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich—it should be done “sooner rather than later,” said an Obama transition aide, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.”

Today the Senate reversed course and signaled it may let Burris fill Obama’s vacant seat if the Illinois Secretary of State certifies him as Senator. Apparently the message Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid got from Obama’s call was that Burris should be seated.

Nothing has changed since Obama’s initial statement except rejecting Burris looks bad for the Democrats, so the message I get is Obama doesn’t like conflict that detracts from his transition.

— DRJ

42 Responses to “Did Obama Throw Harry Reid Under the Bus?”

  1. Obama thought he was displaying unity with Senate Democrats . . . until someone pointed out that the position taken by the Senate Dems was wrong.

    When confronted by an ally who does something wrong, there’s only one thing the prezelect can do.

    Under the bus he goes.

    And, when if confronted on his latest ‘about face’, Obama will (of course) manufacture some kind of “As I’ve consistently said” line of bullshit to cover for the fact that he’s just another predictable, typical, backbiting politician.

    Pres. Bush being loyal to a fault is starting to look better all the time.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  2. I agree with IT.

    Obama will find this gets old after a while.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  3. “Nothing has changed since Obama’s initial statement except rejecting Burris looks bad for the Democrats, so the message I get is Obama doesn’t like conflict that detracts from his transition.”

    DRJ – I disagree. I think it became increasingly obvious that the Democrat position was untenable. After Blago claimed Friday(?) that Hairy Reed called him and said the three black candidates were unacceptable but that the two women would be OK and Harry looked like a deer caught in the headlights when quizzed on that subject Sunday on Meet The Press, I think it was all over but the mechanics. Harrt tried to save face by proposing a vote on Burris’s seating, which I think would have been a nonstarter.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  4. Y’all are sooooooooooooooooooo racist

    JD (457b76)

  5. My thought was that BHO is a follower in this, not a leader. When has he ever shown strength of conviction in anything? Has he ever held on to a difficult position, standing for something.

    My read is that when the senate changed, so did he. The news that Obama gave instruction to Reid is a leaked smokescreen to make him appear stronger than he is.

    Not even in office yet and already we’re seeing ugliness.

    ManlyDad (75cbfe)

  6. Whatever happened to the idea of *electing* Senators? Why not a special election? Why not a move by Illinois House to impeach this governor before he does more damage? A soon-to-be-indicted Governor selects an obvious egomaniac to be a Senator and the people of Ill. have no say? The whole point and original issue is STILL THERE, that this is a fundamentally tainted selection, as would ANY selection by Blago.

    So in truth, we have the Democrats making some feeble fig-leaf covering comments, but continuing the most egregious Chicago-style corrupt politics. Oh, and pay no attention to the fact that the contributors in the Richardson probe were also givers to Obama, or that Obama just did a ‘pay to play’ deal with HBO on the inauguration. Or that Pelosi and Co. just REPEALED the ethics reforms of the Gingrich era that curbed the worst abuses of the House and prevented midnight bill-stuffing. Back to the bad old days.

    The other lesson here is that once again Pres Obama’s statements have an expiration date shorter than a milk carton.

    The country is in the hands of corrupt, spineless, venal, narrowminded Democrat malefactors, whose best and brightest ideas are to ‘save the economy’ by kneecapping it with more taxes and spending and regulation. God Save America!

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  7. “The news that Obama gave instruction to Reid is a leaked smokescreen to make him appear stronger than he is.”

    So the real news is that the press is so in the tank for Obama, they are willing to let even top Democrat leaders other than him look like idiots.

    Cool. This may work out as good for the GOP as the Clinton years at that rate.

    Travis Monitor (cfa2f1)

  8. I agree with Tavis. Teleprompter Jesus does not have the testicular fortitude to be a leader on stuff like this.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  9. Even Jane Hamster at Dog Shit Lake goes bat shit on Hairy Reed’s ass on this one, but she’s not a big fan of his in any event.

    http://firedoglake.com/2009/01/07/i-want-to-play-poker-with-harry-reid/

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  10. Travis- I agree Senators should be elected, but in this specific circumstance, the post is to be selected by the sitting Gov, and there is nothing to indicate that the Gov cannot appoint someone just because the Gov is a jackass.

    JD (457b76)

  11. Susan Estrich wrote the following today:

    Lucky for the rest of us, Barack Obama is the president-elect, and so those who would turn Burris’ rejection into a racial affair are having a little more trouble than they otherwise would

    Susan is a smart lady, a long time Democrat poltico and campaign adviser; but while she’s fairly smart her commentary and blog ranges between making sense–and sounding like a blithering idiot–in roughly 50-50 proportions.

    This comment was over on the idiot Obama Kool Aid drinker side. Everything will be okay once Obama is in charge; all wrongs will be righted; the seas will stop rising etc.

    Well the rubber is about to meet the road on January 20. I’m not certain that the Obama tires have sufficient tread on them to handle 4 years of this jinking and dodging. Even Susan will ultimately figure that out.

    Mike Myers (31af82)

  12. Let the infighting madness begin!

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  13. Obviously, I don’t really know what role Obama and his transition team played in this, but:

    First, this arose in Illinois so I discount the possibility that the Obama team had no involvement, and I think it’s reasonable to assume Obama and his team were kept informed.

    Second, Obama runs the Democratic Party. He moved the Party headquarters to Chicago during the election and he recently picked the DNC Chair, Gov. Kaine. I find it impossible to believe Party leaders would not discuss and coordinate with Obama and his transition team on matters of importance such as this.

    Third, there was no reason Obama had to weigh in to support the Senate’s position on Roland Burris and Gov. Blagojevich, but he did it anyway. His initial statement treated this event as a matter of principle, and he showed loyalty to the Senate Democratic leadership. I admired that, but I don’t admire how he backtracked at the first sign Burris might succeed. Obama has a history of discarding others in order to preserve his reputation, and this is consistent with his history.

    Fourth, to those who argue things have changed, I don’t see it that way. Everything we needed to know to decide this was known on Day One: Blagojevich was and is the Illinois Governor — perhaps under the shadow of criminal allegations, but he’s still Governor. The Illinois AG tried to take away Blagojevich’s powers but was unsuccessful. The Illinois legislature may impeach Blagojevich but hasn’t done so yet. Thus, everyone – including Obama and Reid – knew Blagojevich was the legally empowered Governor of Illinois.

    As Governor, Blagojevich named Burris to replace Obama — an act he was and is legally entitled to do. That some hoped Blagojevich would not act shows wishful thinking and a lack of judgment, not a basis to believe things have changed. Nothing changed except the Democratic leaders finally realized they were basing their decisions on grandstanding or wishful thinking instead of logic. That Obama realized it first is good. That he didn’t realize it to start with is par for the course.

    DRJ (345e40)

  14. That he didn’t realize it to start with is par for the course.

    At least this time he did not overtly lie in his initial reaction.

    JD (457b76)

  15. Obama tires

    Here in SoCal we have a retail tire distributer by the name of…Big O Tires. Can’t say for sure they have them for buses. I don’t get all that excited over tires, but I guess some people must. The ‘Big O’ had other connotations I deemed more desirable.

    allan (7f9669)

  16. Too funny this whole thing. Now Bill from New Mexico …..

    Make 2010 look much easier.

    Da'Shiznit (089453)

  17. Nothing changed except the Democratic leaders finally realized they were basing their decisions on grandstanding or wishful thinking instead of logic.

    — Let’s keep in mind that the ‘realization’ is limited to this one situation. The daily rounds of grandstanding and wishful thinking, as applied to just about every other issue, continues.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  18. Too true.

    DRJ (345e40)

  19. SRJ – Check the filter please.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  20. DRJ – Sorry, you already grabbed it. On your nothing changed argument, you are completely correct for people thinking rationally and according to the rule of law. The problem here is we are dealing with Illinois politics and Democrats so your normal approach gets thrown out the window.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  21. Heh. I can’t argue with that. You should be a diplomat, daleyrocks.

    DRJ (345e40)

  22. daley,

    I read your Jane Hamsher link. Fascinating.

    DRJ (345e40)

  23. Someone should compile a list of the blunders the Dems have made, all in a desperate attempt to prevent that Senate seat from going Republican — something that probably won’t happen; that is, unless the Dems continue to stumble around like Keystone Kops and keep this scandal/story in the headlines.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  24. What day did Reed make his “I’m not Obama’s bitch” statement?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  25. They’re going to ALL look stupid if some DID pay Blago to make this appointment.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  26. They’re going to ALL look MORE stupid if some DID pay Blago to make this appointment.

    Fixed that for you Kevin.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  27. daleyrocks,

    According to The Hill, Reid said this in an interview on Tuesday:

    Reid, who lambasted the GOP-led Congress for being a rubber stamp for President Bush, indicated that he will not bow to the Obama administration.

    Reid stated, “I don’t believe in the executive power trumping everything… I believe in our Constitution, three separate but equal branches of government.”

    “If Obama steps over the bounds, I will tell him. … I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him,” he said.

    The article in the post said Obama spoke with Reid on Monday about the need for a “quick resolution” of the Burris matter. These were Reid’s words the very next day.

    Was Tuesday’s quote a result of Reid’s pique at Obama’s about-face? Was it Reid declaring his independence from Obama? It could be those things or something else entirely, but it’s interesting to speculate.

    DRJ (345e40)

  28. Obama loves power. Harry Reid is a potential rival. The only ones who do this better are the Clintons. Hillary will set Obama up, just like Obama set Reid up. Pass the popcorn.

    Ken Hahn (8df917)

  29. Harry Reid is an idiot who should have been replaced by the Dems a long time ago. Whatever Blago is, he knows how to play the political game and that’s more than Reid does. The Dems should learn from Blago; he certainly won this round.

    Kathy (0f88df)

  30. I am preparing myself for 20 January 2009, 12:01 PM when unicorns and rainbows begin to spontaneously start spewing out my ass.

    Dr. K (74bcc5)

  31. I’m beginning to think my hip-waders will be insufficient.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  32. Harry Reid is violating his constitutional oath.
    What is the penalty and who can file charges on him?
    Anyone out there have a clue?

    Paul Albers (06d9a0)

  33. I think it is called expulsion, and it has to be a fellow Senator.

    And that will never happen.

    Dr. K (74bcc5)

  34. When is common sense going to play a part in this scenario? Laws do not generally address every possible set of circumstances that could arise. Higher courts are often asked to look at laws and how they are interpretted. A law being silent on an issue, like failng to address the current situation and allegations, does not imply that the intent of the law-makers was to ignore such accusations and allow the governor to possibly profit from making the appointment despite being accused of trying to sell the vacant senate seat. To go strictly with what is on the law-books lacks common-sense, which is something that this country appears to have a shortage of at times.

    Ttimm (1e808b)

  35. Shouldn’t Obama’s bus driver be facing dozens of vehicular manslaughter charges by now?
    I suspect his recklessness is not yet done.

    Marko (97c5c7)

  36. That’s real interestin’ there, T-t-t-timmah. There are no accusations — NONE — that Blago will “profit” from the Burris appointment, but we should . . . what? pretend that there are? No mention of Burris in Fitzgerald’s criminal complaint, but . . . what? we should ASSUME that it’s forthcoming? The Burris appointment was made AFTER the scandal broke, so . . . what? we should assume, based on no evidence whatsoever, that Burris was one of those under consideration before everything exploded in Blago’s face?

    Face it, the Dems tried to do exactly what Kevin Murphy alluded to (#25): fire off a preemptive strike against someone who, as far as ANYONE knows, is guilty of nothing, just in case it gets revealed later that there was some hanky-panky going on. The “anyone he appoints will be tainted by his scandal” declaration was wrong from the start; it required a presumption that EVERY SINGLE THING HE DOES in office involves corruption. There’s no proof of that. Courts don’t act on “maybes” either; they tend to presume innocence in cases of alleged wrongdoing. Separation of powers means that the Senate has the right to make their own rules and follow them as they see fit. The supreme law of the land (that would be the Constitution) gives them this privilege. And you know what? This means that Burris doesn’t have much of a case if he asks a court to decide if the Senate is following their own rules properly; that decision is for a Senate oversight committee to make, not a court.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  37. We all have people under our buses. Isn’t George Bush now being thrown under the bus by his own party people? We all do it. Once a relationship seems no longer relevant to our interests, we fling them away and under the bus they go!

    love2008 who will now be known as Emperor7 (1b037c)

  38. I will readily admit I held my nose when I voted for GHWB and GWB those 4 times in the general elections. I will also readily admit I held my nose and held my breath while wearing an atmospheric-pressure suit when I voted for Dole in the general election. None of those three were actually conservative. They were just less liberal than the other viable alternative.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  39. …Obama just did a ‘pay to play’ deal with HBO on the inauguration.

    Do we get to look forward to another “Wardrobe Malfunction” on the 20th?

    BTW

    If someone needs throwing under a bus, I would hope that Harry is one of them.

    TC (0b9ca4)

  40. In preperation for the Pelosi/Reid steamroll of Obama to come, the public must learn to think Obama is in charge. To that end, Obama not only spoke with Reid to get him to change his mind, but then leaked the substance of the conversation. That way, when Reid today allowed as how Burris might indeed get to take his seat (by the way, nice of you to obey the Constitution there Harry- thanks indeedy for that) it looks like Obama is in charge of Congressional Democrats. The truth, I’ll wager, is the reverse.

    MTF (17058c)

  41. awesome. totally awesome.

    I am going to do a bit of research so that I can visit this cemetery and see the Burris tribute in person. I live less than a mile from the Stephen Douglas tomb; perhaps this will be similarly inspiring.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  42. Emperor Penguin wrote: Isn’t George Bush now being thrown under the bus by his own party people?

    — Not so much. I, for one, am proud and excited that I will be able to see President Bush when he comes straight here (wherever here is) on inauguration day.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)


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