Friday Must-Reads: Burris Out

Illinois Sen.

Illinois Sen. Roland Burris will not seek reelection to the Senate next year. It’s welcome news for Democrats in his state and nationally. The Chicago Sun Times reports that a source close to Burris pinpointed concerns over his political legacy and his inability to raise enough money for a campaign as the basis for his decision. So who’s next? State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who will officially launch his bid in the coming weeks, has already raised close to $2 million for his bid. But still exploring a potential run is Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby Kennedy. If he decided to jump in the race raising campaign cash wouldn’t be a problem. Elsewhere, Texas Gov. Rick Perry maintains a healthy lead over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, his likely challenger in next year’s Republican primary for governor. And in Ohio, the race between Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and Republican John Kasich looks to be tightening. Political analyst Stu Rothenberg thinks the extent of Democratic losses in next year’s midterm elections will hinge on the ability of House Democrats representing Republican districts to hang on. He pinpoints the five most vulnerable: Alabama Reps. Bobby Bright and Parker Griffith, Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick, Mississippi Rep. Travis Childers and Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil. They all won with less than 55 percent of the vote in 2008 in districts McCain won handily. He also makes an argument against the long-term viability of the current crop of moderate to conservative House Democrats…

Unless House Democrats who hail from such districts are rescued by redistricting, most of them will have an extremely difficult time surviving a second midterm election. By 2014, voters are likely to be less enthusiastic about the Obama presidency than they are now, creating a political environment in which voters are willing to sacrifice Members of Congress whom they like in order to send a message of change.

And still more Sarah Palin fodder today. Peggy Noonan weighs in with an appeal to her party to let go of Palin saying, “She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.” Meanwhile conservative writer Victor David Hanson explores the “elitist hatred” Palin seems to engender…

While we rightly argue that the Sarahs of the world, if they are to be taken seriously as leaders, must read and study more, why do we not also suggest that the Baracks of the world could do a little more chain-sawing, run a coffee shop for a summer, or drive a Winnebago cross-country? (Who knows, he might meet a fellow woodcutter who knew there were 50 states or that it was dumb to make fun of the Special Olympics.)

And ever wonder what else former Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson stored in his freezer? Ok you probably haven’t, but alongside the $90,000 in cash were some frozen pie crusts and a box of Boca Burgers. WaPo has pictures. Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine.

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