Friday, January 2, 2009

Foot (Hoof) in (and) Mouth Disease

Alas, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the waggish variation on Hoof and Mouth Disease can strike too often where one would hope it wouldn’t.

Take (Please!) the kerfuffle in which Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the Senate, finds himself.

Shortly after the indictment of Governor Blagojevich on  December 7, Mr. Reid indicated that the Governor should not appoint a successor to President-Elect Obama’s senate seat.  He eventually indicated that any appointment by Blagojevich could well not be seated by the Senate Democratic Caucus.  Those senators would have “to determine whether such a person should be seated."

So, what next?

The good governor, true to his nature, took the dare and appointed Roland Burris, an Illinois political figure—who happens to be an African American.  (Uh-oh!)

Already race has entered the equation—Burris would be the only African American senator (just as Mr. Obama was). (Not that there’s a Constitutional requirement for racial or ethnic balance in the Congress.)

Further complicating the issue for Mr. Reid is the fact that there is no clear authority given to the Senate to refuse a legally appointed/elected person from being able to serve.

One would think that Reid would have learned an obvious lesson from the immediate past—that of reserving statements which are more bumper sticker epigrams than wisdom.  Remember the recent “dead or alive” and “mission accomplished?”

Perhaps in some instances we should re-phrase the Reagan dictum to read:

Keep quiet and then verify and then trust.

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