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Burris is a survivor, but can't be an effective senator

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Roland Burris is a survivor. We'll give him credit for that. He survived the initial insistence by the U.S. Senate leaders that no one appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich would be seated.

He survived calls for his resignation.

He even seems to have survived disclosures that he was not as candid as he should have been about his dealings with Blagojevich and his associates.

But just because Burris is a survivor, that doesn't mean he is a good senator.

"Survival" doesn't remove the cloud that will forever be hanging over his head - the cloud of being appointed by a governor accused of trying to sell that Senate seat.

"Survival" doesn't attract other senators to work with him on legislation or other initiatives that could help Illinois.

His "listening tour" became a joke, as Burris ducked the press and met only in private sessions. Who was he "listening" to?

You cannot be an effective senator by letting others do your talking for you and not being fully accessible.

You cannot be an effective senator when other lawmakers are reluctant to be seen with you, let alone work on legislation with you.

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But despite the potential harm to Illinois, once outspoken critics have lowered their voices - if not changed their tunes.

Political expediency and personal interests have overtaken the more important goal of what's in the best interests of the people of Illinois.

Many Democratic leaders, including Gov. Pat Quinn, act as if they are more concerned about losing the seat to Republicans - either in a special election or the next election - than they are concerned about Illinois receiving effective representation.

Because Burris is the only black person in the U.S. Senate, a point made repeatedly by several of his supporters, politicians don't want to alienate black voters and lose their support, not only in the Senate election but for other offices.

Meanwhile, in his stubborn fight to remain senator - including talk of fighting any measure that would call for a special election - Burris seems more concerned with his personal interests than the public's interest.

We said it before and we will say it again - even if many politicians won't: Burris should resign for the good of the state.


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