Transition as Soap Opera
The "Burris affair" has provided the most delicious comedy. Roland Burris, former Illinois comptroller and attorney general, provides some of the best stuff himself, found by anyone trucking on over to the cemetery in Chicago to observe the fortress-like burial monument/mausoleum he has erected to himself, on which is set in concrete the information making him the greatest thing since peanut butter...with enough room left to chisel-in SENATOR. There's even concrete protection-space for his wife and two children, Roland II and – get this for humility – Rolanda, his daughter.
Not at all timid about public office, Burris also ran for the Senate once, Chicago mayor once, and governor three times – all unsuccessfully. As fellow Chicagoan Father Pfleger of Hillary fame might put it if in Jeremiah (God damn America) Wright's church, "He's entitled." But fellow African American Jesse White, Illinois state secretary, has refused to certify his appointment to the Senate by Governor Blagojevich, not that it matters, though Senate Majority Leader Reid seems to believe that it does. According to both the U.S. Constitution and Illinois law, White has no standing in the matter and Reid is blowing smoke.
The soap gets better. It turns out that Reid, certainly not realizing that Fed Prosecutor Fitzgerald was taping Blagojevich's phone calls, called the governor about a month ago to inform him that three black men would not be welcome in the Senate as appointees, two of them in Congress already and the other the president of the Illinois Senate. Instead, Reid suggested two white women, one of them the current attorney general and the other recently defeated in a Congressional race. The consensus of the politicos: the men might be defeated in 2010, while the women would waltz into reelection, ergo, Reid's "suggestions." Conclusion of a cynic: RACISM, stupid! Egad!
More soap! All of a sudden, Governor Bill Richardson, recently tapped to be Commerce Secretary, has – on his own, according to the Obama people – decided that...well...since he'd be a drag on the confirmation proceedings, seeing as how he is under investigation for the "selling" of a contract(s) for (gasp) campaign contributions of significant proportions, he would just demur and deliver a break to the transition. On his own??? Good grief! Do these people believe everyone out in the boonies is an idiot? One of the PACs receiving a "payoff" was set up to pay expenses for Richardson and his staff vis-a-vis the democrat convention, according to Karl Rove on Fox on 05 January.
As everyone knows, an incoming prexy must appoint an incoming CIA director to run the most comprehensive intelligence agency in the country (all those spies, donchaknow), whether or not the current director is up to the job and has the experience. So...the new prez has tapped former congressman and Clinton apparatchik (chief of staff) Leon Panetta, whose intel experience adds up to...zilch...nada. This is "tragic" soap opera.
Current director, Michael Hayden, by contrast, was in the intel pipeline in the USAF as early as 1980 and was deputy director of National Intelligence (umbrella intel agency enacted after 9/11) before taking the CIA post in 2006. Perhaps this is the prelude to the – at least indirect – dismantling of the Patriot Act, something that will make incoming vice prexy Biden happy. Appointing a novice as director is to trivialize perhaps the most important agency in the country. One wonders what will happen to the absolutely vital military, something with which neither Biden nor Obama has any experience and probably not much affection, a la Clinton, who, by his own admission, "loathed" the military. Evisceration, anyone?
The soap opera goes too far when the bureaucrats leap before they look. The recent $700 billion, or whatever it was, giveaway to "save" various institutions and thus save the nation and everyone's mortgage, was a done deal with virtually no hearings to vet it. So far, billions have been spent but the situation worsens and home mortgage-holders continue to lose out. Now, the congressional democrats and the messiah – also with no room for meaningful investigation – are preparing a similar giveaway, claiming the creation of three million jobs, 20% (or 600,000) in government. There are about 2.7 million federal civilian job-holders, so this is a whopping increase of 22% added to the national civilian payroll. One's eyes glaze over when contemplating the graft connected to this kind of hasty and probably unnecessary, at least for the most part, gift to the fat cats, the "smart" people who know how to work the system.
This is just the beginning of the quadrennial soap opera. Soon, the bought-and-paid-for plums such as ambassadorships and government business will be in process as the fat cats get what they purchased (pay to play)...and the beat goes on. Most of these awards will bring guffaws, but isn't that what it's all about – a huge joke on the public?
And so it goes.