"Not since Mr. Smith came to Washington, in that old Frank Capra film, has an idealistic senator appointed by a corrupt party boss been so unwelcome at the Capitol. But at least Mr. Smith got his seat," David Wright reported on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "But it's also distinctly possible the scene will look more like 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?' The senators may seem out of touch, if this overwhelmingly white group refuses to admit the one and only black man seeking to join their exclusive club."
I think this analogy is out of touch. In the first place, it cannot be credibly argued that the Senate's exclusivity -- racial or otherwise -- is foundational to their decision to bar the appointment of Roland Burris. It was made very clear in advance that the Senate would refuse to seat even the most Caucasian of potential Rod Blagojevich appointees to the Senate. The fact that Burris happens to be "a black man seeking to join" the Senate is an irrelevant and coincidental detail.
I'd point out again that mere weeks ago, when the media was kvetching about the Obama transition team delaying their report on who had contacted Blagojevich and when, the pounding message coming out of the newshole was that Blago was corrupt to the core, and that any appointment made would bring taint to the door of the Senate. Now, the message has shifted: Blago is just doing his duty! What else could the man do? It's not Burris fault! And, indeed, Burris has repeatedly asked that his personal considerations be separated from Blagojevich's scandals. I think that the Senate could more credibly be separated from these shallow race-card concerns. Anyway, it's clearly the press that wants to position themselves on the "right" side of a racial issue that they've midwifed into reality, all of which neatly serves the ends of an Illinois Governor that everyone agreed was tainted beyond repair a fortnight ago.
Beyond that, I just think that the allusion to Guess Who's Coming To Dinner is unusually seedy. Clearly, the only impediment to Roland Burris marrying Katharine Houghton is her current husband, Ken Jenkins.