03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Roland Burris Basically Contributing Incoherent Babbling To The Senate

We really should take a minute today to appreciate the greatest contribution made by disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to America: the gift of Roland Burris. Burris has been making huge contributions to the legislative process. And by "huge contributions," I mean "longwinded surrealist tone-poetry about politics and his tenuous intellectual grasp of same." Take it away, Dave Weigel:

I've just gotten my hands on the transcript of last Thursday's Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on czars. There's a lot in there, but the first thing I want to highlight is the dramatically incoherent testimony of Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.). I don't know where to start with it. But Burris, in his short time on the Hill, has been plagued as much by the scandal surrounding his appointment as the rumors that he isn't up to the job. This hearing didn't help.

Oh! How bad could it possibly be? Pretty bad, as it turns out!

BURRIS: This has -- being a constitutional and political science student, I mean, this is Political Science 101 or Political Science, maybe, 1000. The panel's just been terrific.

And I have so many thoughts just rolling through my head, I don't even know where to start. I mean, this is -- this is the meat that caused us political scientists to even exist, because you're dealing with these major issues of the separation of powers and the creation of this country and whether or not you want your president to really have the powers that you granted it, and whether or not the Congress, which is on similar or equal footing, can then control or muscle in on those powers of the president.

I also like this part, where Burris wrestles with the whole idea of a "Cabinet":

BURRIS: Is there a law that would require us or require the president to appoint a secretary of state? Is there? Is there?

CASEY: A law that requires the president to appoint a secretary of state?


CASEY: Specifically, there would not be a law requiring him to do that. Now, of course, if he wants the functions that you vested in a secretary of state performed, he -- he probably has to do...


BURRIS: But there is no law that says he has to even appoint a secretary of state, is that -- am I correct?


BURRIS: There's a statute that says there's a position -- a secretary of state position...

CASEY: Right, right -- shall be appointed in the following -- yes -- I'm unaware of any...


BURRIS: But is there a law that says the president has to make that appointment?

CASEY: Not that I'm aware of.

At any rate, Burris told the committee that he found the discussion "so fascinating," and promised his colleagues, "I'm certainly going read each and every one of you all's testimony." In the meantime, could someone please recut this Levi's commercial so that the topless youths gallivanting through the wilderness do so to Burris' testimony instead of "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" by Walt Whitman? Thank you.

Roland Burris Has a Lot of Questions About How the Federal Government Works [The Washington Independent]

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