At first the Democrats stood strong, warning that Burris wouldn't be seated, but after Burris did arrive and his rejection became the major story of the new Congress-- they gave in. Obama and the Congressional Democrats yielded and it is clear now that with whatever face saving measures are necessary, Burris will be seated.
In other words, Obama has faced his first crisis, even before entering the White House and blinked.
Or as the AP set the scene;
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats beat a hasty retreat Wednesday from their rejection of Roland Burris as President-elect Barack Obama's successor, yielding to pressure from Obama himself and from senators irked that the standoff was draining attention and putting them in a bad light. Burris said with a smile he expected to join them "very shortly."
How were Blagojevich, a cheap thug who seemed to have the common sense of a housefly, and Burris, a failed amateur politician, able to beat the Messiah?
They did it by knowing just how weak and ineffectual Obama really is. And they exploited his Achilles heel, his compulsive need to be in the spotlight. Through sheer boldfaced nerve, Blago and Burris faced down Obama and proved that they were able to distract attention from his program. And that was all it took for him to fold like a cheap suit.
What Burris and Blago proved was that ethics is not a priority for Obama, nor is consistency or even an ounce of grit, all that really matters is keeping the TV cameras focused on him. It was the weakness that McCain's early ads effectively exploited for a lead, and it's a weakness that his old Chicago homies Blago and Burris know really well.
They knew they didn't have to break Obama's nerve, because there wasn't much nerve to break. All they had to do was prove that they could hog the spotlight. And with a deal being struck with Burris, a deal for Blago can't be far behind.
Already there are rumblings among liberal blogs and some pundits that he was railroaded and treated as guilty before being convicted of anything. Which is the kind of trial balloon you send up before you reverse position completely. That's what happened with Burris, where after a brief attempt at smearing him with a false prosecution charge, they reversed to arguing that he should be seated.
Burris will now inherit a shaky seat tarnished by corruption, and the new Democratic congress will have begun by demonstrating its willingness to accede to corruption when it's in the interests of Obama. More importantly Obama has demonstrated how gutless he really is, and how little it takes to make him blink first.
Except pretty soon Obama won't be facing down Blago and Burris, whose worst threats were bad publicity, but the likes of Putin and Ahmadinejad, and other leaders who have never taken Obama seriously in the first place, and now have firsthand evidence of how pathetic and cowardly he really is.