Both political parties in Illinois are justifiably embarrassed by yet another scandal in Springfield. This time it is the Democrats at the epicenter of another political earthquake extending to Washington.
Interim and very junior Sen. Roland Burris is proving to have more than just a political tin ear. He isn't listening period, or to few but himself.
At this writing, Burris has dismissed calls that he resign. Friend and foe are joining the call for him to step down The Illinois Legislature and U.S. Senate are probing his conflicting statements given under oath.
When Burris gained the Senate appointment from the disgraced and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the race card was played by Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush. The congressional black caucus jumped in. It would be foolish for them to get involved now unless Burris can come up with a truthful rendition of his conduct, which seems unlikely.
Burris has put himself in this position by shading that truth, not once but three times, on his personal fund raising avtivities for Blagojevich. He says he's not hiding anything, but he has a lonely position right now.
Recall that not one lawmaker in Springfield of either party supported Blagojevich in the impeachment process. When he named the 71-year-old Burris to President Obama's Senate seat, it was tainted from that moment. Even the White House has now advised Burris to think about his situation, hardly a vote of confidence from the president's spokesman.
Before Republicans hyperventilate in glee over the woes of the Democrats, scandal is bipartisan in the Land of Lincoln. Former GOP Gov. George Ryan, Blogojevich's predecessor, sits in a prison cell for his criminal misdeeds. In fact, both parties have undergone other scandals in the past for pay-to-play activity.
There must be something about stubbornness in the water in Illinois. With his refusal to see an apparent hopeless cause, Burris joins Blagojevich in being stubborn even when forces around him are trying to give him a way out. A reporter in Chicago who has known Burris for years said: "Calls for him to resign will probably just strengthen his resolve. He will think only of himself anyway."
Gov. Patrick Quinn, a Democratic friend of Burris, has called on him to quit. The silence from party members of the Senate is deafening.
The furor over the Burris matter underscores the need to remove governors from appointing men or women to vacancies in the Senate. The process should call for a special election within 60 or 90 days to permit voters to choose. It may prove to be expensive for states, but it is the right thing to do.
Burris has only provided more evidence for special elections.