early and often

Roland Burris Called On to Resign

The revelations of the past few days have quickly endangered the political career of Illinois senator Roland Burris. What happened? He pretty much lied to the Illinois state legislature about his contacts with Rod Blagojevich’s people, and even tried to raise money (unsuccessfully) for Blago, at the request of Blago’s brother, at the same time he was lobbying for an appointment to the Senate. Now, in addition to potentially facing perjury charges, the Senate Ethics Committee is looking into possible punishment, which could include expulsion, and Burris’s hometown paper is calling for his resignation. The man who would do anything to become a United States senator will probably do all he can to stay one — but he’ll be fighting all by himself.

• The Washington Post editorial board calls on Burris to resign, contending that “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.” [WP]

• The Chicago Tribune editorial board says the only “honorable action for Burris” is to resign. [Chicago Tribune]

• The Chicago Sun-Times is a little more lenient, holding off on a call for resignation and instead encouraging Burris to give “a complete account of how [he] came to receive his Senate seat.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

• Steve Benen notes that “no one has accused Burris of corruption, per se,” but predicts that “[t]his won’t end well for him.” [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• George Stephanopoulos relays this from a Democratic source: “He’s in deep sh*t.” Even if Burris survives his perjury inquiry and his Senate Ethics Committee inquiry, he’s “now guaranteed to have a serious primary rival when he runs for the Senate seat in 2010.” [George’s Bottom Line/ABC News]

• Ta-Nehisi Coates wonders: “How long will it take for the ‘one black senator’ card to [be] played?” Burris will probably survive, but “he’ll spend most of his term defending himself, and then in 2010 the Dems will bounce his ass.” [Atlantic]

• Sam Stein examines the possibility of expulsion from the Senate, and concludes that the “process by which that would happen … seems far-fetched.” [HuffPo]

• Jennifer Rubin wonders why the Senate isn’t immediately moving to expel Burris, considering that “the one concern for the Senate before seating Burris was to make sure there was no financial quid pro quo between Blago and Burris.” [Contentions/Commentary]

• Chuck Todd and friends think that “Harry Reid has to be muttering, ‘I told you so.’” [First Read/MSNBC]

• John Mercurio believes that “Senate Democrats may have received a blessing in disguise from Burris,” because they are now “increasingly likely to encourage other candidates to enter the state’s 2010 primary.” [National Journal]

• Terence Samuel says Burris is a “perennial loser who got one of the all-time greatest second chances in American politics and blew it by lying under oath to a state impeachment panel.” He originally thought Burris was “a harmless Alice-in-Wonderland dilettante,” but “there is nothing harmless about having one of the most egomaniacal, narcissistic people in politics represent you in the Senate.” [Root]

Roland Burris Called On to Resign