December 31st, 2008
12:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Rush says Senate Dems risk following in Bull Connor's footsteps

Rush spoke at Blagojevich’s press conference revealing the Burris pick.

Rush spoke at Blagojevich’s press conference revealing the Burris pick.

(CNN) - A day after warning critics of Roland Burris’s Senate appointment not to “hang or lynch” the former Illinois attorney general, Chicago congressman Bobby Rush said Democrats opposing Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s move to fill the open seat risk finding themselves “in the same position” as segregation-era figures Bull Connor and George Wallace.

"You know, the recent history of our nation has shown us that sometimes there could be individuals and there could be situations where schoolchildren - where you have officials standing in the doorway of schoolchildren," Rush told CBS Wednesday morning. "You know, I'm talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Ark. I'm talking about George Wallace, Bull Connor and I'm sure that the U.S. Senate don't want to see themselves placed in the same position."

Rush told CNN Tuesday that the lack of African-Americans in the Senate was "a moral outrage" that "should make most fair-minded Americans very, very angry."

Watch: This is a good decision,' says Rush

Congressional Democratic leadership said Tuesday they will oppose seating any candidate appointed by the scandal-scarred Illinois governor to fill the remainder of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate term.

It is unclear whether the Senate – which can refuse to seat any incoming lawmaker that they believe was not properly elected or appointed – has the legal standing to block the selection of a sitting governor.

Rush said Wednesday that Blagojevich’s opponents “need to take a chill pill."

"We're still a nation of laws and I believe that Roland Burris and Gov. Blagojevich, they're on solid constitutional grounds” in his selection, he said. “I think the U.S. Senate will have to accept him."

It was the second day of racially-charged comments from Rush backing the embattled governor’s decision to appoint Burris, a former Illinois attorney general. If he were seated, Burris would be the only African-American senator to serve in the next Congress.

"I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," Rush said at the Tuesday press conference where Blagojevich announced the selection of Burris.

President-elect Obama has said he opposes the seating of any candidate selected by Blagojevich to fill his Senate seat.

Filed under: Illinois
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. aware


    Keep this nonsense up if you want more and more people to realize that PEBO is part of the same Chicago political cesspool of palm-greasing thuggery! 🙂

    So stop making fools of yourselves! Gov. Blagojevich is no worse than any other Chicago politician including PEBO and most of the cronies now in the Senate! 😦

    The U.S. Senate needs to accept Roland Burris "

    December 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. B, Illinois

    What a race baiting opportunist.

    December 31, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. welch

    I am a b/f from chicago and this talk is outrageous. this has nothing to do with race. This is not about Burris, this is solely about Rod being capable of appointing a senator the seat. In his predicment, he should have not appointed anyone and no one should have accepted the seat. It seems like a desparate move on both of them.

    December 31, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Suzi

    This has absolutely NOTHING to do with race and it's outrageous that Bobby Rush would say it has. WE JUST ELECTED A BLACK PRESIDENT, MR. RUSH, and he has an 80% approval rating by EVERYONE.

    This has to do with the rest of the country protecting the integrity of it's government against Blagojevich who apparently is trying to take down the whole country to protect himself. He doesn't care how devisive he is being at a time when it's important for us to focus on the most serious conditions our country has faced since the Depression.

    We're not joking around here, Bobby Rush. The country has serious business to attend to. Obama shows us the way to pull together - you should look to him for an example of grace and leadership.

    December 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Change - Yeah Left

    Wow – changing a bad decision from a lame duck crook into a race issue.

    December 31, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. NY republican

    @mmd – maybe "we republicans" want him seated or not on his OWN RECORD.

    December 31, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Gary

    Here goes the race card, big time. We'll see a lot of that in the near future, I fear.

    December 31, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Well, here's a real test for the Democratic leadership of the Senate. Will they stick by their previous statement and not seat Burris, or will they cave to PC? My guess is that they have no intestinal fortitude and will cave. They can't risk alienating the black vote that gave them Obama. Still waiting for Sharpton and Jackson to denounce this appointment. Methinks it will be a long wait.

    December 31, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. NY republican

    to everyone talking "republicans" this and that, the man in article is Bobby Rush (a black democrat) not Rush Linbaugh (a white jacka..).

    December 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Vicki5

    I thought that was Sara Palin talking for a minute. Goofball.

    December 31, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Marc

    He had the gall to invoke Bull Connor!
    For those who doesn't remember nor know, Bull Connor was a KKK member and city commisioner of Birmingham who couldn't care less the damage that his actions (or the lack of them) caused on the reputation of his city, which by then was better known as 'Bombingham', as long as he and his cronies blocked the Civil Rights Movement! The citizens of Birmingham had to change the city government's form in order to cut his powers!
    And this man compares a legitimate act of the Senate Dems, and the whole Senate, to this shameful person...
    Don't play the race card Mr. Rush, that's not what this whole situation is about. It's a about a (soon to be impeached) governor's legitimacy to appoint someone to represent the State (that he failed to serve with dignity) in the Senate. There is no legitimacy.
    It's not about Mr. Burris skin color, Blago's or yours. It's about Blago's acts and the expected consequences of them.

    December 31, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. I Knew It

    Just goes to show the race card can be played by either side of the aisle. I personally thought it was the Obama campaign who played the race card both during the primary and the general. Anyone remember Bill Clinton: "he played the race card on me" or the president elect himself: " the Republicans are going to try to scare you by saying that he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills?" I'm just saying that liberals are just as guilty as conservatives of playing the race card to their advantage. They just do not get called on it like the Republicans do. Well, they are geting called on it now. As they should. And, they need to stop dissing conservatives for it.

    December 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Think B4 You Type

    you people (white and black) are so easily swayed by the media, it's amazing. Guilty or not, Blajo has STILL NOT BEEN CHARGED OF ANY WRONG DOING (yet). He might even just be innocent, hmm? by LAW (remember law, idiots?) he is required to make an appointment. Until he is removed from his position THAT IS HIS JOB. Just because the Democrats said "we will veto any appointment you make" does not mean that he is not still legally responsible for making an appointment.

    It doesn't work like that, and if they block Burris, Blajo might even have a case in the Supreme Court. I am black and i was not offended by Rush's words "lynch" and "hang". The media machine has made the public so gullible that they get sidetracked quickly from the real issues on the table.

    Burris is more than qualified for the position and if the dems will be stupid enough to veto him (and i'm sensing they will) I only hope that they can find a person with stronger credentials than Burris (and i'm sensing they wont)

    December 31, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Dan

    Bull Conner, George Wallas both where members of the Democrat Party. Hmmmmmmmm.

    December 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. nick

    I say let's have a special election and let a Republican win this one. It's obvious the Democrats have let this get out of hand.

    December 31, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. MaryanneAZ

    Whatever else one thinks of Blago, he's a flippin' political genius (or his attorneys are). He seizes an opportunity to appoint an AA with a clean history to a vacant seat as per his statutory and our Constitutional directive. Blago is currently the governor and is not indicted or convicted of anything (90 day delay in the wings). A special election would be entirely too costly and would delay senate business. For the Dems, having this seat filled by a Dem is an extremely important thing that they'd be crazy to risk with a special election. This solves their problem if they accept the appointment. Blago gets to continue to act as Governor and he gets to muddy the waters in the new administration (he has to be bitter that he did not get any reward for the appointment). It's a win-win for Blago and the Senate will look childish and irresponsible to resist the appointment. Constitutionally and state statutory-wise both the State Legislature and the Senate are skunked. Genius, pure genuis!

    December 31, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Marcus in Seattle

    As an American (who happens to be black) I find his comparisons absurd.

    December 31, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. free blago

    I think it is unfortunate that Rush has added race to this already tainted appointment. Burris is political kryptonite and encasing him in the lead shield of racism does not make his appointment any more palatable to Dems. If the state of Illinois wants an African-American senator, they should elect one at the polls, and not have one appointed by this sleazebag.

    December 31, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Nola

    Mr. Rush needs to read more articles in the new and watch more media news shows – then he would have been known that the Dem Senators stated that they would not accept anyone that Blajo would select- so it is not a race issue when they say that they will not accept Mr. Burris- Blajo could have appointed a green eyed purple eating thing and it would be rejected.

    December 31, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Sherrol in Canada

    It is not about racism, it's about Blago's arrogance and defiance and Burris' blind ambition for higher office.

    December 31, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Sam

    Give me a break! Rush has just put the final nail in the coffin of my opinion about the Black community. Al Sharpton gets a 15-year old girl to concoct a story about being raped by a group of white men. After she confesses to lying, he becomes his bretheren's hero, ONLY because he and she are Black. Fast forward to 2008, when 90% of Blacks vote for Obama in the primaries and general election, ONLY because he is Black. Now Rush will have us believe that a crooked governor can appoint a senator, and we must accept it ONLY because the appointee is Black. And if we oppose the appointment, says Rush, then we're all bigots like Wallace. To me, this says that the Black community is racist, and we are supposed to shut up. Well, not me.

    December 31, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Jim Melton

    It seems to me, that you in the liberal news media have been promoting support for Hamas and,the Arabs on the Gaza Strip. If you want the Jews to halt the confllict, first, Hamas should quit firing into Israel. You don't seem to understand the situation. Israel has every right to protect themselves. They can't help that Hamas hides behind civilians. They are the culprits, not Israel.

    December 31, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. anthony

    How about Blagojevich for the chairman of RNC? Republicans, all of a sudden, are determined to support him and his pick for Obama's replacement in the Senate. Maybe he is their kind of politician?

    December 31, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Sammy

    Uh.... yea whatever Rush. But then again you tend to support illegitimately appointed politicians when they are Republicans. One comes to mind.

    December 31, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. JB Cal

    Corey, Maryland why is it people like you always want to put African Americans into one lump when you have a complaint? If you read the posts you would see that many AAs disagreed with Rush's statements. Contrary ;to your belief not all AAs scream racism when things don't go our way. But I'll tell you this, if I believe that is the reason, I will let it be known. Now if that upsets you then to bad. I'm just playing the cards that I was dealt.

    December 31, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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