Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for president, weighed in today on the latest development in the Blagojevich-Burris saga. In his Atlanta Journal-Constitution column, Barr questioned Burris’s political savvy, considering the senator agreed to a live grilling by Chris Matthews on “Hardball”:
Still, the most incomprehensible aspect of this latest chapter in the Blagojevich-Burris soap opera is not the transcripts themselves, but the fact that Burris agreed to participate in a live phone interview with Chris Matthews on “Hardball” to discuss the surveillance tapes. Matthews, widely respected as one of television’s toughest and most well-prepared questioners, peppered Burris with questions about the clear meaning of the tapes, as Burris lamely attempted to explain them away. The fact that Burris agreed to participate in such a losing proposition as to try and best Matthews on live TV, raises a serious question about the senator’s capacity to remain in office. That his staff let him make such a foolish move raises similar questions about the competency of his staff.
Barr is right. Burris was foolish to “play Hardball,” and he isn’t cutting the mustard as a U.S. senator. But many of us in Illinois knew that would be the case before Burris even took office.
Burris should resign from the Senate. The Springfield State Journal-Register today urged Burris to do just that — resign and put an end to this whole sad episode. Unfortunately, we all know he won’t heed such advice. Burris is too much like his partner-in-crime, Rod Blagojevich, to resign before embarrassing Illinois further.