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. Alan

    This is so ridiculous. Very very few of our senators and congressmen/women are APPOINTED. Most are ELECTED. Any remarkable lack of blacks in either the House or the Senate should be based largely on the vote of the majority of the people. Blogawhatever isn't guilty yet, but the very cloud hanging over his head INVOLVES his alleged attempts or plans to sell the very seat he just appointed.

    Yes, he's innocent until proven guilty but everyone needs to realize that publicly elected officials must stand above an even tougher test - they must be held accountable to a standard that dictates there can be no APPEARANCE of wrong-doing.

    Those tapes certainly did APPEAR to be wrong actions on his part. And, until he's proven guilty, it's more than fair for the Senate to let him know they will not consider ANY appointments he suggests until such time as his name is cleared.

    This very appearance issue is why he's been asked to step down. Staying where he is makes him INEFFECTIVE as a leader.

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

    The people of Illinois are allowed two (2) Senators in Congress. The Illinois Governor has been accused, however, the legal process has not concluded that any of it is really true. Why should our state be forced to operate like a bike with one tire? Mr Burris seems to be a good enough man to serve our Country untill the legal process concludes. They will have camers on Burris, so WWWWWWWWWhy not Roland Burris.

    December 31, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Skip, a black man

    Great, another dirty black man!

    December 31, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. sandee in Portland

    What a farce! If the african americans want more of their race in the Senate, then more of them need to run for office. I don't see the latinos, asians, etc. screaming about their race not being represented in the senate. The senate said long before Burris was picked, they would not seat anyone the Governor appointed, so it has nothing to do with race.

    December 31, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. legal in nc

    To nathan @12:46et......... i find it interesting that you would find it appalling that someone would use the race card to further their objective but you yourself decided to do the same.

    "The history of African Americans in this couhtry is steeped with whites doing us wrong. Getting other African Americans to help has been just as prevelent. Blagojevich and Rush continue that dual legacy."

    Typical hypocrisy from a liberal!

    "Inspect yourself before you Expect from others"

    December 31, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Marilyn

    This is exactly how Obama got elected - white guilt and political correctness.

    December 31, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Precious

    And what would the topic and discussion be, if the Illinois Governor had pick someone from the PE Obama's list?

    Would we say that it is was a good pick because PE Obama has good judgment, and because of his good judgment in choice, the Gov. could not have made a tainted choice. PE Obama sat in a church which many disapprove of for 20 years, but we hold the opinion that the Reverend words were not those of the President Elect? If a father commits a crime, does that taint his son/daughter future who is doing good in his/her life. Why should we decides someone's future based on someone else's mistake. I believe we were told not to "judge" one another.

    December 31, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Chris

    What I am very, very angry about is how every black person in America who opens his mouth shows just how racially motivated he/she is. They need to take a dose of their own medicine and quit whining about the fact that through our voting process, we choose to elect people for reasons of our own. No one owes a Senate seat to a person regardless of his color, the past, the present, or even due to the fact that we elected a person of mixed color to the highest office. Also, overwhelmingly, it seems that people are treating this miscarriage of our system by the governor as an oportunity to install a favorite into office when they should be working to correct the errors in the system and get someone into office that would represent the majority and not a segregrated group of people.

    December 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Mary - PA

    Roland Burris should never have accepted an appointment from this tainted Governor. No one else should either. It is so obvious what Blagojavich is doing. He is purposly using race to create controversy in the hopes of keeping himself relevent and "sticking it" to the ones trying to oust him. Roland Burris should not allow himself to be used that way.

    December 31, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. M

    Mr. Rush,

    You are wrong on this one; and just for the record, I am black.

    December 31, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Millie2640

    Rick December 31st, 2008 1:18 pm ET

    Thats bull, its not racism, they told the governor, do not appoint and now the people are calling it racism. Just like they always say, you are discriminating because I'm black and you are white, just another pile of political correctness.

    Hold on there... Since when did one idiot become "the people"?! He doesn't speak for all African Americans. He speaks only for himself and an idiot is as an idiot does...

    December 31, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Mesa Mick

    Blago's playing everyone for chumps again!

    He's injected race into the mix as a diversion from his mess and the media and the repugs are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

    What I can't beleive is that both Burris and Rush are letting Blago make Uncle Tom's out of them for his personal gain...

    December 31, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |




    December 31, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. flybyshoeing

    Bobbie Rush was on Larry King last night. He seems a little out there. He is an interenting man though. Born in the deep south. Educated in Chicago. Served in the military. Co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party. He is the only person to beat Obama in an election. Was /is close to the Bill and Hillary, but endorsed Obama in the primary and general election.

    December 31, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. JJ12343

    Whats funny is that in early December, Rush was on the bandwagon that if Blago selected anyone it would take away that persons credibility. Funny how things change.

    December 31, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Deb

    I'm sick of hearing so much about race enough already........Yes, for you who wishes to know I am African American

    December 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. JJ12343

    I would be that even after all of this Burris is a Senator from Illionis

    December 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Eric

    This whole thing stinks! What's worse, Obama hasn't taken office yet and his administration reeks of this scandal! Sure Obama himself didn't have anything to do with it, but everyone close to him seems to be connected. Somethings not right!

    December 31, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Proud Democrat

    Mr. Burris is an excellent pick. One of the few people in Chicago who are not part of the dirty political machine.

    The Senate has no right to stop his nomination. Gov. Blog is still allowed to legally appoint a Senator, thus making Mr. Burris Senate appointment legal.

    If they didn't want Gov. Blog to appoint a Senator then they should have approved a Special Election and the voters of Illinois would have made the choice. However, they were so scared the Republicans might win the election they missed the boat and now they will have to honor this legal and valid Senatorial appointment.

    December 31, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Phillip

    Rush says that it is a "moral outrage" about the lack of African Americans in the Senate, but isn't there approx 8% Afrrican-Americans in the Senate and about 12% African Americans in the the US. I think there is a much greater ratio with Latin Americans. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    December 31, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WHAT A GREAT PICTURE!!!!!!!!!!!


    December 31, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Chitown Jason

    LOL, Mr. Rush, there was an African-American in the Senate just recently, and believe it or not he was from Illinois! He's not there now because he got promoted. In fact, Carol Moseley Braun was another African-American senator from Illinois (maybe even the first ever, iirc).

    Illinois does not have a problem electing African-Americans to high public offices if they are qualified. It does have a problem with corrupt officials. Stop making excuses Mr. Rush.

    December 31, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. s

    Gov. Blagojevich is a jerk for appointing Burris while he is under investigation. This man is qualified for the senate seat but will not get it because of Blagojevich. As for Congressman Rush, why is he even up there talking, this has nothing to do with him.

    December 31, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. Chitown Jason

    Also, a quick lesson from a local to all you GOP'ers from around the country.

    Barack Obama is not all that powerful in Chicago compared to other local politicians. Obviously he is President (Jan. 20) but he never had the influence that guys like Blago or Daley have.

    Mayor Daley backed someone else during the 2004 Senate race.

    Many of the local politicians have clashed with Obama at some point – case in point, Rush ran against him for Congress (and won).

    Listen to the audiotapes of Blago being mad at Obama for not playing his games.

    Chicago politics are crooked as can be, we all knew that here for decades, but Barack Obama is not in the same league. I'm not naive enough to think that he's spotless, but the comments and links people are making are totally inaccurate.

    December 31, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. J.P.

    "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.'"

    Gee, so we're supposed to give positions and opportunities to someone based SOLELY on the color of their skin. Uh, isn't that EXACTLY what the late Rev. Martin Luther King marched against... unfair treatment based on skin color and equal access to opportunties regardless of skin color?

    Instead of using skin pigment as the determining factor, how about looking at actual accomplishments, actual skills, credentials, edu ation and the "content of a person's character?" That would certainly make Dr. King proud... hiring based on skin pigment would make the great man roll in his grave.

    December 31, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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