Rodney Dangerfield made a career in comedy out of being the man who couldn't get no respect from anybody.
Roland Burris is retiring from the Senate because he lacks the same thing - respect. It's certainly not news that Roland Burris is declining to seek a public vote of affirmation for the senate position he acquired from disgraced former Governor Blagojevich.
But it was reported in yesterday's Chicago Tribune that Burris has been able to raise hardly any money at all since assuming the position of junior senator from Illinois - just $41,320 from April through June. This figure is clearly a huge improvement from the $845.00 (and no, that's not a typo!) he raised from January through March, but clearly insufficient to continue the charade of his candidacy.
A senate seat is pricey real estate these days (requiring at least $3 million, according to a 2005 release from www.campaign audit.org) and Roland's inability to attract funding (in an era where lobbyists toss money to candidates like candy at the 4th of July parade!) is a significant clue that he has no support among any constituents in Illinois.
Thus, the man who replaced Obama in the Senate in a cloud of controversy has taken himself out of the running in the 2010 election.
Like Sarah Palin when she resigned, Roland, in his resignation speech, made reference to the fact that "life is full of choices."
Unlike Sarah Palin, he'll serve out the rest of his term. But he forever will remain the Senator who represented the will of just one man, a disgraced former governor named Rod Blagojevich.
Here's his resignation statement in full...
“Serving in public life is not easy, but it is a noble and rewarding calling. Life is about choices. Make no mistake that I love serving in the United States Senate. I love serving the people of Illinois. But in making this decision I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds, or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of Illinois should always come first.”
“And so today, I have returned to the place where my political journey began back in 1978, back to the South Side of Chicago, back to my community and my constituency to announce that I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election, and that I will not run for the United States Senate. I have been a member of the Senate for seven months now, and I have seen firsthand that my colleagues are thoughtful, dedicated, and loyal Americans – Democrats and Republicans alike.”
“The Obama Administration and the Democrat-led Congress is bringing transformational change to this nation, and it is an exciting time to be in public service – more exciting and more filled with hope and possibility than at any time I can remember. I made a decision as a young man to get involved in public life, never imagining I would have the great honor to serve this state and this country for as long as I have. Now it is your turn. Now it is your turn to decide how you will serve your community."