Enabling Roland: The List of Blame

Many villains in this tale; we name them

As was the case with former governor Rod Blagojevich, Roland Burris couldn't have created this mess on his own. There are many villains in this tale - aside from Blago and his pals - and we aim to name them.

BOBBY RUSH: Infamously accused those opposed to Blagojevich's appointment of Burris to the U.S. Senate of being racist. A laughable charge that only worked because of the spinelessness of other villains in our tale.

DICK DURBIN: Not only is Durbin the home state senator, but he's the No. 2 guy in the United States Senate, and his backtracking on the Burris appointment was weak and irresponsible, not only to Illinois but to the country.

HARRY REID: Similarly buckled. What a putz.

BARACK OBAMA: It was Obama who pressured Durbin and Reid to make the mess go away by giving Burris his old seat. Obama put his own short-term political media strategy ahead of the interests of Illinois and the rest of the country.

STATE REP. JOHN FRITCHEY: The candidate for Congress vying to replace Rahm Emanuel was long one of the biggest critics of fellow Democrat Blago, but he tried to limit lines of questioning during Burris's appearance before the House impeachment panel, objecting more than a defense lawyer in a murder trial.

THE MEDIA: And by this I mostly mean the national mainstream media, whose gullibility seems to know no bounds. Try to square, for example, USA Today's "Burris Has Been Free of Controversy" , which was par for the national media course, with "Burris Sought Death For Innocent Man" and this report from the Chicago Council of Lawyers that blasted the way Burris ran the state attorney general's office - including the way he politicized its functions.

STATE REP. BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE: According to various news accounts, Currie spoke with Burris attorney Tim Wright without notifying other members of the House impeachment comittee about Burris's desire to "clean up" his affidavit; Currie received the new affidavit and reportedly only read the first page before filing it. Then, after the news of the affidavit's contents broke, Currie said, "I think what we have here is an effort on the part of the senator to be more forthcoming, and I think that is a good thing."

REV. WILLIE BARROW: The Rainbow/Push Coalition leader says today that "We put him in, and we're going to keep him in."

STATE REP. MONIQUE DAVIS: Insinuated on Chicago Tonight on Monday night that the differences between her defense of Burris and fellow Democratic state Rep. Susanna Mendoza's ire was racially motivated.

That's not to say there haven't been heroes. Attorney General Lisa Madigan was right when she tried to get the Illinois Supreme Court to declare Blagojevich "incapacitated" so he couldn't make this appointment. (Come to think of it, that makes the state supreme court a villain too.) U.S. Rep. Danny Davis turned down the offer that Burris couldn't refuse. And Secretary of State Jesse White made it know that he, too, wouldn't take the job, and then refused to certify the appointment.

But the truth is, far more of our public officials enabled this madness than tried to stop it. And now we're paying the price.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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