Duh oh… more trouble in Congressional paradise. It appears Sen. Diane Feinstein is swimming against the Democrat tide of disdain for Burris, and says they should seat Burris in order not to call other gubernatorial appointments into question.
Curt commented on the Burris circus, and Mike noted Reid’s adamant refusal to seat Burris. Now add Obama’s head nodding in agreement by the strings that operate his marionette head, and one might conclude that Feinstein might just be making a grab for that vacant “maverick” hat.
It’s breaking news… not much here yet. So here’s the en toto update:
UPDATE#2: NYTs report
WASHINGTON – The chairman of the Senate Rules Committee has parted with many of her Democratic colleagues and says that the Senate should seat former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Tuesday that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, however tainted by corruption charges, has the right to appoint someone to President-elect Barack Obama’s former seat. The Rules Committee decides whether Burris is qualified to serve.
Feinstein said that blocking Burris would have ramifications for other governors’ appointments.
My my… could this bit of rebellion have anything to do with the press catching her off guard about the bizarre choice of Leon Panetta for CIA director? This is either one massive oversight, or one large slap in the face considering la femme Feinstein is the senior chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee… which oversees Panetta’s confirmation hearing.
“I have been contacted by both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, and they have explained to me the reasons why they believe Leon Panetta is the best candidate for CIA Director,” Feinstein said in a coolly worded statement. She added that she looked forward to “speaking with Mr. Panetta about the critical issues facing the intelligence community and his plans to address them.”
Feinstein was miffed not only because of the breach in normal protocol but also because Intelligence Committee Democrats were still smarting from being largely dismissed by the Bush administration for eight years. Bush vetoed the last annual intelligence authorization bill because it would have limited CIA interrogation methods, legislation spearheaded by Feinstein.
Obama also didn’t consult outgoing chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., about his unusual choice- something a committee official said should have happened both for protocol and political reasons.
Obama called Rockefeller Tuesday, and the two men agreed that the President-elect could have done a better job of notifying both key senators, according to a Rockefeller aide who spoke anonymously, not authorized to comment on the record.
Naturally, Obama and Biden have fallen all over themselves with apologies to Feinstein. But this can’t be scoring any points with Pelosi, who’s bound and determined to keep the Obama admin in a tight leash. She’d already laid down the law to Obama, making sure he knew neither he or his admin were to do any talking to her rank ‘n’ file Dems with her knowledge of the what’s and why’s.
But I guess “not talking” to them doesn’t really violate her demands, right? And PEBO has demonstrated the uncanny ability to “not talk” about a lot of issues… both during the campaign, and thru the transition…. while getting a “get out of jail card” free from the press.
Oh… but *wait*…. there’s MORE! Now the Obama transition team is subtly suggesting it was “leaked” before they could advise Ms. Feinstein of their decision to appoint a professional legislative assistant and “scholar” – a “thin” resume for the job, to put it kindly – in charge of the CIA.
Mr. Obama and his aides were trying to mend damage done on Monday when news of Mr. Panetta’s selection leaked before it had been shared with senior senators, and some Democrats responded with surprise and skepticism because Mr. Panetta lacks much intelligence experience.
That’s our choices? Either a “leak” or complete lack of communications? Woof. Welp… so much for transparency and good inter-branch communiques. This is one heckuva start.
How ironic that, to find out the haps and decisions of the Obama admin, even the Senate Intelligence Committee chair might have to start checking Obama’s transparency website for her “seat at the table”.
Vietnam era Navy wife, indy/conservative, and an official California escapee now residing as a red speck in the sea of Oregon blue.