When Illinois Sen. Roland Burris took office almost a year ago, he already appeared to be a lame-duck politician.
After being appointed by the shady Gov. Rod Blagojevich in late December, Burris found himself shrouded in a haze of suspicion and controversy. With such a troubled introduction to national politics, it seemed as if “Blago’s boy” was little more than a political eunuch.
But the hard-knuckle Chicago politician seized his moment a few weeks ago when he proclaimed that he wouldn’t sign a health care bill that didn’t include a public option. With that, he not only propelled himself into prime time, landing spots on C-SPAN, MSNBC and Fox, but he also made himself relevant.
The landmark bill that passed the House on Saturday likely included a government-sponsored plan because of Burris. It now has to pass the Senate, which will be a challenge for the Democrats, who have no room for error in their quest for a 60-vote majority.
But if they can pull it off, Burris could emerge as the savior of the public option.