QUINN CALLS FOR BURRIS RESIGNATION…. Now would probably be an excellent time for Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) to update his resume.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) on Friday called on his “good friend” Roland Burris (D-Ill.) to step down from the Senate and said the Illinois legislature should immediately take up a bill to require special elections to fill Senate vacancies.
Quinn declined to criticize the appointed senator, saying he would go down as a “great Illinois citizen,” but he said Burris has a “cloud over his head.”
He said Burris, whom he has known for 37 years, never should have accepted the appointment from embattled former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and that Senate business is too important right now to have a senator with so many questions to answer. He said Burris would be doing the state a service by stepping down.
He pointed to the recent economic stimulus bill, which passed with the minimum 60 votes in the Senate.
“It needed every single vote in order pass,” Quinn said. “The United States Senate at this time in our history is vitally important to deal with the economic challenges that we all face.”
I’m not sure if that last argument is necessarily persuasive. What does Burris’ possible resignation have to do with the significance of each and every vote in the Senate? For that matter, it still might be difficult to push Democrats in the Illinois legislature to set up a special election, especially with the prospect of a Republican winning the seat.
Nevertheless, Quinn’s statement makes Burris’ future that much more bleak. The senator hasn’t said much lately, and it’s certainly possible he’ll wait and see if the storm blows over. Whether he realizes it or not, the landscape is unlikely to get better for him — Burris is already under investigation for possible perjury — but he, like Blagojevich, probably doesn’t see an upside to stepping down before he’s forced to do so.
If Burris hopes to function as a productive senator, though, he should lower his expectations considerably.