Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Shakespeare in the Senate

The Rollie Burris Circus rolled into Washington, D. C. yesterday.

The man appointed by disgraced Illinois Gov. Ron Blagojevich to fill the un-sold Senate seat of Barack Obama was turned back by the Secretary of the Senate…because he didn’t have his hall pass.

Apparently, the Secretary of the State of Illinois did not affix the official State Seal to Burris’ certificate of authenticity…and the Secretary of the Senate would not admit him to the Senate Chambers.

Sen. Diane Feinstein of California is breaking ranks with her colleagues, and calling to allow Burris to take office—never mind there are rules in place.

What kind of an idiot goes to Washington to represent the people of his state without all of his paperwork in order? Does Rollie Burris not know that bureaucratic red tape is the life blood of the Federal Government?

Was this in fact a test of Rollie Burris’ abilities to navigate around the shoals of the Senate…and has his ship of state run aground on a sandbar of procedural protocol before he can even make port?
Was this Burris’ pass-fail admissions test?

Rollie: Mr. Secretary, I am here to represent the great State of Illinois in the United States Senate.
Sec’y: Paperss? You haff paperss?
Rollie: Sure, here’s my blank certificate with no state seal, and a note from my Governor.
Sec’y: (reading) "Dear Mr. Senate—please give Mr. Burris a place to sit. We’ve had a run on chairs up here. Signed, Blago."

Rollie Burris will most likely, eventually, be admitted to the Senate as the Junior Senator from Illinois, God help them. But this guy looked totally unprepared for the media scrum and hoopla that enveloped him. What kind of public servant goes to work without the basic tools to get in the door…and now, what should be Illinois' expectations for his performance?

Rollie: Madame Speaker, may I be excused?
Nancy Pelosi: What is it, now, Senator Burris?
Rollie: I need to go to the bathroom.
Nancy Pelosi: Do you have your hall pass and special key to the Senatorial washroom?
Rollie: Yes, ma’am, but my pass needs your signature...
Nancy Pelosi: (scribble-scratch-dot) Fine, but keep your hands to yourself in there.
What a scrummy way to start the day…or a Senate term.

If the Senate had William Shakespeare to chronical the machinations of that august body, one wonders how some of The Bard's bits might have been re-written.

, for example, might have delivered this soliloquy from the Senate floor (or maybe at a press conference on the steps outside):

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous appointments,
Or to take arms against a scrum of media,
And by opposing foil them?

To serve: to sneak past the Senate Sergeant at Arms;
No more; and by serving to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That serving as a Junior Senator is heir to, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd.

To dodge, to serve;
To serve: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that servitude what dreams may come
When we have shuffled away from mortals coiled outside the Beltway;
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of no term limits;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of the pundits,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised governors, the Speaker's delay,
The insolence of senate secretaries and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bumpkin?

Who would patronage bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after Congress,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No politician returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus come-uppance does make cowards of most of us;
And thus the naive hue of senate resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of actual thought,
And enterprises of great politics and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Soft you now!
The fair Pelosi! Nymph, in thy orisons
Have you seen my hall pass?

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