Editorials: Burris 'Must Go'
As newly-minted Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) tries to stave off calls for his resignation, the editorial boards of almost every major newspaper in Illinois have said enough is enough.
At issue is Burris's Feb. 5 sworn statement saying he spoke to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother and chief fundraiser, Robert Blagojevich, three times about fundraising activities. Burris said he didn't end up raising any money for Blagojevich but his testimony in front of a state impeachment panel has been questioned as inconsistent.
Some observers say that Burris might be able to hold onto his seat with the help of political allies.
Mary Mitchell, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, said that even though Burris may "look like a liar," he still "has every reason to ignore calls for his resignation."
"He still has friends in some pretty high places," wrote Mitchell, referring to Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, who spoke for Burris at a luncheon in the Windy City yesterday.
But saying Burris "must go," the Sun-Times editorial board said the freshman senator had lost all credibility.
Without a push, he will never do it. Wouldn't look good on the tombstone. So Sen. Burris needs a nudge.
Nearly every other major Illinois newspaper agreed. The Chicago Tribune said Burris's appointment was tainted and that the selection process for a senator needed to be given "back to the people."
Finally, remember that Illinois Democrats failed to do right by the people and schedule a special election for this Senate vacancy. If they had done that, voters today might be weighing the lost credibility of candidate Burris, instead of expressing their disgust with Sen. Burris.
Disgraceful. Disgraceful all around.
There's only one honorable action for Burris: resign.
The State Journal Register in Springfield, Ill., the state capital, said it would "much prefer that Burris embrace reality here and step aside, but we won't hold our breath." The Peoria Journal Star said: "Add it all up, and it's just bad. We've always thought of Burris as something of an amiable mediocrity before, but this is worse."
The Rockford Register Star was the lone dissenter, saying it doubted Burris would heed calls to resign and offering this advice: "Represent the people of Illinois well for the next two years and then retire gracefully."
Calls for his resignation have come from outside Illinois, too. The Dallas Morning News likened Burris to "a one-man stimulus package for late-night comedians. The thing is, it's not really funny." From the editorial:
He should do the decent thing and resign, but if he won't, he should be removed from office. This farce has been good for a few laughs, but it's gone on long enough.
The Washington Post said Burris's stories have "more twists than the Chicago El, and none of them good:"
From the moment that Mr. Burris was selected, he strove to portray himself as a blameless public servant. The sad pictures of Mr. Burris being cast out into the rain by the Democratic leadership of the Senate, which initially refused to seat him, turned public opinion in his favor. Mr. Burris got his seat. But this latest revelation makes a mockery of his professions of no quid pro quo. It is a violation of the public trust. The people of Illinois have suffered enough. Mr. Burris should resign.
By Derek Kravitz |
February 19, 2009; 1:32 PM ET
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