I live near Chicago, and there are a few things that need to be noted here.

One, probably the most important, is that Burris has gotten through a career in IL politics pretty darned clean and that’s no small feat.

Two, he is not Rod Blagojevich, who may in fact be using Burris as a tool, but doesn’t anyone consider the idea that Burris might think Burris would be a good sensible public servant, you know, like he always has been?

Three, why would he, or you, say “no?” Particularly if your conscience was clean? To me, that’s a strong man who can do that.

The optics are obviously bad. But the optics for “Mission Accomplished” with Commander Codpiece were great.

I didn’t vote for Blagojevich. And I’m proud of it. But I’m not going to lay Rod on Roland, anymore than I would expect other people to lay on me the morality and judgment of one of my professional colleagues.

Yet another silly media construction, this one enabled by the “liberal” blogs, and Rachel Maddow, and on and on. The folks who empathize with people, and put themselves in the person’s economic or sexual shoes and understands their pain. And are immune to cheering on the conventional political wisdom. *yawn*

I wasn’t picking on Steve, Hilzoy, Rachel or anyone else, either, not in the least because I agree with most of these folks a wildly high percentage of the time and think are really, really, smart, nice people besides being terrific writers. It’s just that the shit Roland had to put up with was widespread on the left side of the ‘sphere (even among good contrarians, like John Cole), and you know what?

Methinks these people are not doing a good job of putting themselves in Burris’ shoes.

And I watched the press conference and Steve is right on. It was a circus. Press conferences are often circuses, this one almost a sure bet given the prologue and announcement, and, like any large media droolathon, are not subject to any individual’s substantive control. (Pssstt…the media actually LOVES this kind of thing!)

Finally, $14K over 4-5 years? Sounds about like “legal contribution limit” to me, and Roland, above all in his career, has been a good party guy to the end. There is simply no serious evidence that he’s any more corrupt than most pretty straight, clean, and moral people.

Poor guy. I don’t think he’s the greatest choice ever, but he’s a friggin’ light-year or two ahead of most other choices, and farther away from your average, oh, Oklahoma Senator.

Update: Shorter: I understand Blago’s offer, and I understand Burris’ acceptance. Motive, in this case, actually can be mutually exclusive. And both are entirely understandable, and neither are automatically evil, stupid, or criminal. Democrats sure do good opposition when it is against Democrats.