This week Washingtonian magazine released its “Best and Worst of Congress” list that appears in its September issue, and both of our U.S. senators placed prominently.
Not surprisingly, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin did better in the polling than U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, who was appointed to the Senate by then-Gov. (and now convicted felon) Rod Blagojevich.
In the survey of administrative aides, press secretaries, legislative directors and other congressional staffers, Washingtonian found that Durbin is considered the most eloquent member of the U.S. Senate, as well as its top workhorse. Burris, on the other hand, was named the Senate’s most clueless member and the third-most likely senator to be involved in a scandal. (Fortunately, time is quickly running out for Burris to get embroiled in another scandal – though the Blagojevich one is already enough.)
As of this writing, I haven’t heard either senator’s response to the rankings, but I can imagine them. Durbin, for instance, might play off his ranking as the Senate’s top workhorse and channel Lou Gehrig, who was known as baseball’s “Iron Horse.”
“Today,” Durbin might say, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Well, besides my fellow Illinoisan, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, who was named the House’s top male hottie and third-best dresser in the same survey.”
Microphone reverb would be added for effect, of course.
But now that we know Durbin is considered the most eloquent member of the Senate (Who knew?), I now have higher expectations for his speechifying. And when I think of eloquent, I think of Shakespearean-style soliloquies.
“O, what a rogue this news inspires me to be,
Always second to one, Barack or Reid,
But in a dream of passion, I come out on top,
Obama’s now president, and Reid may be out,
Should Harry lose re-election, I shall not weep much,
For the next move is obvious, I have a hunch,
The Senate’s best speaker would be majority leader!”
As for Burris, he is known for his brazen disregard for reality and tendency to refer to himself in the third person. He probably would call himself a visionary and try to make his first-place ranking sound like an award rather than a raspberry. Then he would have it etched in the side of his mausoleum.
Indeed, his “acceptance speech” might go something like this:
“People said I was either crazy or divinely directed. I accept the latter. I believe, without a doubt, that I am predestined to be a role model.”
It’s not like that is too far-fetched – Burris actually uttered that quote to the Chicago Sun-Times when he unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1994.
Actually, considering the ranking Burris received, I’d love to hear Crazy Uncle Roland paraphrase some quotes from the Alicia Silverstone movie, “Clueless.” Instead, we probably would hear something like this:
“My friends in the media,” he might say, “I would just like to state that the attitude in the Senate is a disgrace. I mean, all this nonsense about Roland Burris might be corrupt, Roland Burris is clueless, let’s shun Roland Burris. I doubt any of them are cleaner than Roland Burris.”
And he might even be right about the holier-than-thou attitude directed toward him by his fellow senators. But, what Burris has always failed to grasp is this: He makes it so easy to cast stones at him.
Burris, however, can always take solace in this fact: Two months from now, we won’t have him to kick around anymore.
This column was also published in the Sept. 2 issue of Ottawa Delivered.