What to do with Burris

WHAT TO DO WITH BURRIS…. Senate Democrats know they don’t want to seat Roland Burris, but aren’t sure how. Mike Allen reports on their plans to resist the Blagojevich appointment.

Senate officials tell Politico that if presented with the appointment, they are likely to give the Rules Committee 90 days to determine the propriety of the appointment by looking into such issues as whether Blagojevich received anything in return for it.

“A motion to refer credentials to the committee has the effect of delaying seating,” a Senate Democratic aide said. “The motion is debatable and amendable.”

Another official explained: “That buys us 90 days.”

That should be enough so the senators won’t have to act to prevent Burris from joining the chamber. Blagojevich’s defiance inflamed Illinois legislators, speeding up the impeachment process.

“He will not be governor by Valentine’s Day,” the official said.

That’s fine, I suppose, but it doesn’t resolve what may prove to be a very awkward scene on the Hill next week. As far as Burris is concerned, he is, legally and legitimately, the junior senator from the state of Illinois. He plans, like his colleagues, to show up for work on Tuesday and take the oath of office.

A variety of possibilities may play out, including possible delays by way of the courts, but here’s the one to keep an eye on:

Should Roland Burris show up for duty in the Senate on Tuesday, armed police officers stand ready to bar him from the floor.

This cinematic showdown is among an elaborate set of contingencies that Democratic leaders are planning if, as expected, the former Illinois attorney general appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich shows up with newly elected senators to press his claim that he is the legitimate replacement for President-elect Barack Obama.

This entire mess has had a vague implausible-Hollywood-script kind of vibe for a few weeks now, but it may yet get even worse.