From NBC's Chuck Todd and Domenico Montanaro
One thing to keep in mind about the Senate Democrats' decision to fight the seating of Roland Burris, it's about buying time.
Should Burris decide to fight the U.S. Senate's decision not to seat him, it will go through the court system, just like what happened in the 1960s to Adam Clayton Powell. It took more than two years from when Powell was excluded from the House to when the Supreme Court eventually decided on his case.
Well, even if the Burris court case takes, say, three months to make its way to the Supreme Court, the landscape in Illinois will have changed dramatically. Blagojevich could be an officially indicted governor; he could also be impeached and then tossed out of office. The pressure on Burris to at least let the new governor make the appointment could become great.
Now, as for folks wondering why the Senate Democrats would feel so comfortable tossing away a Senate seat temporarily, remember that the Senate Dems now have numbers on their side.
With Al Franken looking more and more like a winner in the Minnesota recount, the Senate Democrats have seats to give for a while. And the Democratic leadership apparently has the long view on this seat; this isn't about getting a Democrat in place now to cast votes in 2009 and 2010 -- this is about making sure a Democrat can win in Nov. 2010.
This is why the Senate Democrats seem to be against a special election (could help a Republican get a leg up for Nov. '10) and this is why they don't want a Blagojevich-tainted Democrat appointed to the seat making that person vulnerable in the 2010 general.
"Delay, delay, delay" -- may be the best way to describe the Senate Dem strategy at this point regarding this Senate seat.