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Newspapers: Resign

Friday, May 29, 2009

* The calls for US Sen. Roland Burris’ resignation are once again spiking at the editorial boards. He won’t resign, of course, but everybody wants their say and there’s nothing wrong with that.


It’s remarkable that he continues to open his mouth thinking anyone will believe a word that comes out. He even boasts of his ruses, claiming Wednesday that he was only trying to “placate” gubernatorial brother Rob Blagojevich during their now notorious November phone call.

* SJ-R

We have listened to the recording and here is what we (and, we believe, almost anyone else) believe we heard: A desperate Roland Burris willing to do just about anything to become a senator, but not wanting to get caught doing just about anything to become a senator. He knows if he holds a fundraising event for the governor and gets the appointment, it’ll look like he bought it. And he knows if he doesn’t come up with money for the governor, he probably won’t get the appointment.

* Bloomington Pantagraph

He didn’t come across as trying to avoid wrongdoing. He came across as trying not to get caught.

He didn’t say there was anything wrong with having a fund raiser for the man who would decide whether to fulfill his wish to become senator. He talked about what the press might do and “so many negative connotations that Burris is trying to buy an appointment.”

* Peoria Journal Star

The more Burris talks, the deeper the hole he digs. He now acknowledges, for instance, that his sworn testimony in Springfield was incomplete because the “one thing you don’t do is to … volunteer information that wasn’t asked. … There was no obligation there.” Say what? “No obligation” for someone who wants to represent Illinois’ interests in the U.S. Senate to come clean under oath? Does he know what the meaning of the word “is” is?

Meanwhile, he insists with a straight face that “I’m not splitting hairs, I’m not walking a crooked line. … I’m as straightforward and honest as I can be.” If this is the best he can do, it’s not good enough.

* Paul Green has the best quote

Perjury cases are notoriously hard to prove, and the U.S. Senate is notoriously slow in dealing with corruption charges against fellow lawmakers. But it may be enough to kill off any lingering hopes on Burris’s part that he might get elected to the Senate seat.

“It’s a very heavy rock to put on an already wobbly canoe,” said Paul Green, director of Roosevelt University’s School of Policy Studies.

* Good point

The call may not show Burris making his fundraising support contingent on getting anything in return. But it definitely paints a portrait of a relationship between Burris and the governor’s camp that was a lot more intimate and involved than anyone had previously let on.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Been There - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 9:53 am:

    Paul Green’s quote is good but I liked Andy Shaws better. “he was toast before but now he is burnt toast”.

  2. - BigDog - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 9:58 am:

    The U.S. Senate may be notoriously slow in dealing with corruption by one if its members, but this is self-defeating in my opinion. They are not considering the long term effects of having such a bald-faced liar among their ranks. My 15 and 13 year-old kids are watching all of the developments in this story, and it’s plainly obvious to me that their still-developing, impressionable young minds cannot possibly be attaching much respect to an office that is supposed to be one of the most elite elected positions in the country. Will our next generation have any regard at all for our most powerful elected “leaders”? And really, why should they??

  3. - You Go Boy - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 9:59 am:

    You have the ex-gov who lives in Blago-world, and you have a soon to be ex-Sen. who lives in Rollie- world. Oblivious to everything but their own “voice” which repeatedly whispers “You are truly the greatest….You are truly the greatest”

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:07 am:

    –“It’s a very heavy rock to put on an already wobbly canoe.”–

    I’ve never heard that phrase before. Doesn’t show up on the google.

    Points to Mr. Green for originality. I have no idea what it means. but I’m guessing it’s bad.

    For Roland, any spotlight is a good spotlight, I’m sure. Until this Senate fiasco, no one had been paying any attention to him for a long, long time. His colossal ego needs to be fed, in the worst way. And that’s how it’s being done now.

  5. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:23 am:

    Why is Roland Burris a US Senator? It took a few guys to make it happen, didn’t it? After all, while Blagojevich may have chosen Burris, our Senator was controversial before he was approved by the Democrats in the US Senate.

    The only public official that took a stand against Burris’ appointment was Jesse White. Every other Democrat with power to stall Burris’ appointment waffled and spun in 360 degrees, searching for the right political angle to play it.

    Governor Quinn and the Illinois Democrats defeated the chance to call a special election, after they publically called for one.

    Senators Reid and Durbin were made utter fools by splitting hairs that only political jellyfish playing political games could achieve. The Democratic Party painted itself into a corner when it piously announced during the Post-Obama afterglow that it would not seat any individual appointed by Rod Blagojevich. They made this statement because they wanted to look as messianic as man from Illinois they made president. Reid and Durbin took this stand so that Blagojevich would look like a one-off unethical Democrat without power. They took this stand in order to remove any connections between Rod Blagojevich and the new president. They didn’t even think of what they were saying, as reality accended upon them after Blagojevich appointed Burris. The National Democrats couldn’t think more than ten minutes ahead of their press conference teleprompters, and they ended up looking like spineless boobs.

    Burris’ testimony before the General Assembly was watched by all who wondered if they could avoid seating Burris. Roland’s testimony had enough holes in it to be considered mosquito netting, yet politics, especially racial politicking, took precedent over honesty, leadership and clear ethical standards.

    If any Democrat with guts did the right thing, besides Jesse White, (who by the way was thrown under the bus by Dick Durbin for taking the ethical stand against Burris), we wouldn’t be having this man representing Illinois in the United State Senate.

    Burris’ saga is a condemnation of the kind of politics played by the Party in Power, and getting it all wrong. I prefer it when politics is played correctly, and with practical benefits.

  6. - South Side Mike - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:26 am:


    I don’t know what it means either. I think he mixed some metaphors. Wobbling objects like canoes are often stabilized by the addition of a heavy weight. I think he meant a barely floating canoe or leaky canoe. No matter what it means, it’s still more coherent than Roland’s explanations.

    It should be interesting to hear how those power lunches with Reid and Durbin to discuss plum committee assignments go now. /snark

  7. - ConservativeVeteran - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:36 am:

    If Sen. Burris resigns, Gov. Quinn would make an appointment, and I haven’t heard him say whom he would choose. I predict that Quinn would appoint William Daley. Quinn would say that Daley is qualified because he was a secretary of commerce, 1997-2000, but Quinn knows that, if he appoints Mayor Daley’s brother, the mayor would be more likely to support Quinn’s campaign, in 2010.

  8. - Dan S, a Voter and Cubs Fan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:38 am:

    Amen Vman, very well put.

  9. - Macbeth - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:42 am:

    What’s weird is that Burris is much like — or very much like — Blagojevich here. Blagojevich’s “nothing but sunshine over me” is similar to Burris’ now constant refrain of “I’m an honest man.” Or (in the wonderful third person): “Roland has always been honest.”

    My sense here — and nearly everywhere else — is that if you have to explicitly state your honesty, then you are — nearly always — dishonest.

    Or whatever. Cripes. As much as I like to read about this — and see what Roland cooks up next — this stuff is getting old. Real old.

  10. - Little Egypt - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 10:47 am:

    I agree wholeheartedly with VanMan; however, the bottom line here folks is that we’ve got Roland until January of 2011. He’s not quitting, John Schmidt (the state’s attorney in Sangamon County) won’t find him guilty of perjury, and the U.S. Senate will not throw out a democrat, no matter what he/she has done. The light at the end of the tunnel is that a new U.S. Senator will be elected in November of 2010, and it won’t be Roland Burris. Until then, we might as well shut up about this because Burris isn’t going anywhere.

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    –If Sen. Burris resigns, Gov. Quinn would make an appointment, and I haven’t heard him say whom he would choose. I predict that Quinn would appoint William Daley.–

    CV, you know the medicinal marijuana bill is not law yet, don’t you?

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:13 am:

    lol, word.

    Let’s try to avoid goofy speculation like that, please.

  13. - Hank - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    How about we ignore all Burris news until primary season starts? Let’s face it. Even if the FBI has video of Burris personally delivering a wheelbarrow full of cash to Blago in Ravenswood he is going nowhere until the term is up. Heck, depending on the political winds blowing as the election nears we may even see Dickie Durbin hosting fundraisers for “my good friend Roland”!

  14. - siriusly - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 11:59 am:

    I think I heard WBBM-AM report this morning that Alderman Carruthers has been cooperating with the FBI and has been wearing a wire. Other elected officials are being investigated.

  15. - Vote Quimby! - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    VanMan–excellent points, and also don’t underestimate the Dem’s desire to get 60 votes in the Senate. It appears it will take a long time to clean out the waste pipes of the Blago Era.

  16. - Little Egypt - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    Vote Quimby, you just gave me an idea. How about if that guy who hosts the “Dirty Jobs” program on The Discovery Channel would come to the Illinois State Capitol Building to “clean out the waste pipes of the Blago Era”. Now that would be a show I would watch. I’m betting it would get pretty good ratings too.

  17. - Tom Joad - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 1:48 pm:

    Hey, give Durbin a break. When Congressman Rush played the race card, he changed the question completely. The issue became not Roland individually, but minority voters in general. Durbin relied on the state legislature to set up a statewide election for the seat. After the arrest of Blago, it was thought not only that Rod would not appoint anyone, but that no rational person wouod take the appointment from him. And no rational person did! Just the irrational Burris. He is getting what he deserves.
    It is easy for Repubs to advocate refusing a Black man appointed to the Senate by a state Governor his seat. Their leadership has already tried to kick their most popular Black person out of their party. Democrats are not in the habit of ignoring minorities except during campaigns like some Repubs!

  18. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    So a Democratic congressman plays the race card forcing the uber-sensitive Democratic senator to accept Roland Burris based on race, but if a Republican congressman plays the race card, he couldn’t force an uber-sensitive Republican senator to accept Roland Burris based on race - because Republicans can easily refuse a black man?

    Sounds like the only closed mind around here is yours.

  19. - Tom Joad - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 2:32 pm:

    Vanilla Man, your comparison makes no sense. Since you have no argument in rebuttal, you just confuse the issue. Nice try!

  20. - Obamarama - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 3:51 pm:

    I’m bothered by the fact that Burris’ insistence that he remain in the Senate can only be explained by, as earlier stated, the fact that he lives in Rollie-land. He’s already got his pension(s), so it can’t be for financial reasons, and there is little, if anything, left to his “legacy,” so that motivation is moot, and I don’t buy for a second that he is motivated by serving the people.

    He clearly lives in a Blago-esque fantasy world. If we’re going to have corrupt politicians in office, can’t we at least have the smart ones instead of the clueless ones?

  21. - Anon - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 4:46 pm:

    ==Democrats are not in the habit of ignoring minorities except during campaigns like some Repubs! ==

    Unless, of course, you consider things like school vouchers, where the preferences of the minorities come up against the preference of the teachers unions. Guess who the Democrats favor? I don’t know if there is a similar case where the interests of the trial lawyers trumps a clear preference of black voters when it comes to actions of the Democratic Party, but I don’t think there’s much doubt which group would win that battle, either.

  22. - Tom Joad - Friday, May 29, 09 @ 5:39 pm:

    Anon the minorities in the legislature have never pressed for vouchers. Even when Jones was President of the Senate, this wasn’t an issue with them.
    As to your trial lawyer comment, that is absurd. You couldn’t name as issue that has split the minorities from the Party due to the trial lawyers because there isn’t one. Just trying to raise an issue that doesn’t exist.

  23. - disgusted - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 8:57 am:

    agree with vanilla man. we ALL had the opportunity - legislators state and federal - public officials - and citizens who could have marched to springfield or washington = to endlessly stall or stop the burris appointment, but bottom line…..we did not.
    illinois deserves everything it gets from burris’ representation of our state including the scandal and surrounding embarrasment…. yet even given the former attorney general burris’ lies in front of our elected officials, the sale of a senate seat, and a long history of jailed governors, we cant pass a meaningful campaign reform package - but a poorly written and politically, not strategically, designed piece of legislation that further feeds a government system that is not representative of the citizens of the state, but of the agendas of self serving corporations, pacs, and individual politicians - agendas which all of us are now paying for at the federal as well as state level by way of bailouts, increased social service needs, and lengthy investigations/law suits.
    Businesses (and each of their related subsidiaries and each of their primary owners) thinking of doing business in the state now have to consider the cost of even higher expectations for their contributions (because after all we all know that $20,000 per year per subsidiary and per owner… will now be the new STANDARD) but also the prospect of paying the new even HIGHER state income tax. making (after all this “reform” and tax hike legislation) almost any other state in the county a more economical choice than Illinois.

  24. - disgusted - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 10:07 am:

    Ok Lets simplify…getting burris out of office, like getting blago out of office, is not a criminal case.
    he should be pursued out of office by way of 1)violation of the oath of office for a us senator, or 2) violation of the senate ethics rules.

    1) the oath of office burris gave, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and DEFEND the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC; that I will BEAR TRUE faith and allegiance to the same: that I take this obligation FREELY, without any MENTAL RESERVATION or PURPUSE OF EVASION: and that I will WELL and FAITHFULLY discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; so help me God.”

    2) US Senate Ethics rules….within 60 days he was required by law as a new senator to sign an “Individual Certification of Completion of Ethics Training”….does any one have a copy of the senate ethics training ? can someone foia to see if burris signed the certiciation???? this would be interesting.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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