Thursday, January 8, 2009

Good Time to Get Ridda Reid

Replace Harry Reid?

Barack Obama will soon be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. He's deep into his transition and moving with dispatch to be ready to work immediately upon taking office. Given all that is on his plate - Israel/Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, economic crisis, plunging real estate values; you get the picture - one would think Obama wants to limit distractions as he prepares to enter the White House. But with friends like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Obama now has to deal with what is a tempest in a teapot - the seating of Roland Burris in the U.S. Senate. Reid's leadership on this has been abysmal.

Despite his dirty benefactor, Burris is qualified to serve in the job to which he has been appointed. Denying him a seat in the Senate is petty and unwise, particularly given the much bigger fish the chamber has to fry. Moreover, it is hard to find anyone who believes that Burris will not ultimately be seated. Reid's mishandling of this issue leads me to conclude that now may be the time to revisit Reid's leadership of the Senate Democratic majority. While I'm sure that he is sincere in his belief that anyone appointed by the indicted Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, should not serve in the Senate, I'm also sure that his position is politically stupid and endangering a smooth transition to Democratic control of the government. Every second spent on this issue is one that can't be devoted to convincing the country that the Democrats are prepared to lead.

The Democrats should cut their losses and seat Burris. Perhaps they should cut their losses with Reid, too.

Michael K. Fauntroy is a professor, author, columnist, and commentator. He blogs at:

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