Why doesn’t anyone just say it? On top of the taint of accepting an obviously cynical U.S. Senate appointment from Gov. Rod “stinkbomb” Blagojevich, Roland Burris is a pathetic replacement for President-elect Barack Obama because everything he puts out — particularly in terms of his appearance and speaking style — seems to be about caution and equivocation. He’s a dull, timid pre-Obama type — not of this era.

Burris — face it — looks like some kind of mediocre mouse. He’s only a little over five feet tall, it appears. His voice is underwhelmingly soft and high-pitched. He wears a 1964 Adam Clayton Powell moustache. He exudes the aura of a go-along clubhouse politician in the David Dinkins mode. Yesterday MSNBC commentator Jonathan Alter said Burris has been known for years as “the Casper Milquetoast of Illinois politics.”

The only good thing I can imagine is that he might one day be seen as a black Harry Truman.