Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meet Republican leader John Burris

Posted By on Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 8:52 AM

The passing of Lloyd George is, on at least one count, a good time to mention today's Stephens Media profile of House Republican Leader John Burris of Harrison. It's by John Lyon. Link corrected.

Like George, Burris is not a retiring sort. Like George, he's happy to mix it up. Burris, unlike a number in his party, has continued to joust with me on Twitter and elsewhere on points of disagreement. I don't think during my columnist years I ever wrote a word of praise for Lloyd George's endeavors, but he never failed to greet me with a, "Hey, Big Boy" and a grin and a backslap and perhaps a dismissive remark about whatever I'd criticized him about lately. The cliche that applies is someone comfortable in their own skin. And confident. I think Burris has that same confidence. The narrower sorts, hewing fast to black/white dogma and fearful of every lurking shadow (even that thrown by a trashy throwaway tabloid writer), don't.

Burris, who devotes full-time to legislative work, tells Lyon he has no political plans beyond seeking another term in the House and says he doesn't want to be minority leader again. I regret that. Because, as hard-line as Republican party politics are these days, Burris doesn't push to within a micrometer of the line every single time. He retains a dose of pragmatism, as do a handful of other Republicans that I won't embarrass by naming as a member of my GOP Sanity Caucus. The great question is who'll be in charge in 2013, if Republicans take control. It might be I'll rue Burris' absence from leadership.

PS — I should have credited Burris for speaking in favor of repealing legislation that would give truckers a sales tax break later this year. It was supposed to be granted in return for a diesel tax increase. But that diesel increase isn't going to happen. It's only common sense that they shouldn't get a $4 million tax break they haven't earned, but the GOP Crazy Train Caucus (Nate Bell, chmn.) doesn't see it that way.

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