December 31st, 2008
12:32 PM ET
5 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. Jordan - San Marcos, TX

    Congressman Rush is cheapening the ideals that Dr. King and so many others fought and died to bring into the American mainstream. I'm a liberal who excitedly voted for Obama. But, what Blagojevich is doing by appointing Burres and what this congressman is saying now are both truly awful things. This is not what American should be. I very much want to see more African-Americans and Latinos in the U.S. Senate, that's not the issue. The issue is that Blago is in no position to make an ethical appointment. And even if Burres makes it into the Senate, he will be forever stained by the man that appointed him. I'm sorry, but that's the truth and it needs to be defended here.

    December 31, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Nathan,

    As and African American I find it appalling that Rush has decided to do the dirty work of that criminal Blagojevich by invoking the race card into this issue. Instead of looking like a beacon of light for civil rights he instead looks like the Governor's boy. The only image worst than the ones invoked by Rush is the one of Rush playing Blagojevich's lapdog while hurting the chance for unity when Obama takes office. I would like to see an African American appointment to the position, but without a cloud over his head. It dosen't strike that moron Rush ironic that he is invoking some of the worst racist images of our history becaus a seat needs to be filled of a black man who was voted President. Blagojevich is an immoral crook who will do whatever he can to divide the people so that he could look better.He knew that Obama would rightl so oppose anyone appointed to that seat from him. What better way to start trouble for Obama by appointing an African American to a seat that the senate and Obama said they would oppose. To go one better he found another African American to go along with his dastardly plan. I'll like to know what he says about Rush behind his back. 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.

    December 31, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Mari

    ITS .... NOT.....ABOUT.........RACE......... ITS ..........ABOUT....... BLAGOJEVICH!

    HOPE WON! BLESSED & HOPEFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL!

    December 31, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Chad in Cincinnati

    Nice to see Blago pull the puppet strings to try stirring up some fake outrage. Will the Illinois legislature please hurry up and impeach this crook?

    December 31, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. JB

    They are attempting to silence whites by playingthe race card. It is despicable. Harry Reid and the Congress have no problem with color, but the person nominating, after, he is on tape attempting to sell the position. This is when Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton need to stand up and call BS on this. It is like the boy calling wolf. It will belittle the times when racism is in fact an issue.

    December 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Patrick

    The whole country just elected the first African American/black president with a sizable majority and this old fool is accusing the senate of racism. He is out of his mind and he is a disgrace to the African American community. Blago does not have moral grounds to make this appointment at this time as it is the subject of an investigation. Plain and simple. The house should send Bobby Rush back to kindergarten!

    December 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Kim

    This has nothing at all to do with race. It has everything to do with a corrupt Governor that shouldn't be filing ANY Senate seat! I knew someone somewhere would try and turn this into a "race" thing. Unbelieveable!

    December 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Illini

    If the Senate said prior to this that they would not seat any person Blago nominated, then would it not be racist to seat this guy because he's black?

    December 31, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Enrique

    Get over it Bobby Rush! From one Chicagoan to another...shut up!

    December 31, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Meka

    Rush needs to be educated. His thought process, is still in the 20th Century.

    America has grown (to some extent), that we NOW have a Black Man as President of the United States!

    December 31, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Kim

    and an after thought Burris shouldn't even be considering accepting this position

    December 31, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Reg from Germany

    Mr. Rush needs to shut up and stop making a fool of himself. His statements sound more like a black person is entitled to the senate seat. As a black person, i find his approach to this fiasco very appalling. Mr. Rush, Roland from CNN and a couple of others do not represent the view of the majority of black folks. i am really tired of these old black folks who fought segregation to continue to link the current state of the country to their old struggle. Granted there are still works to be done but the country is moving forward in a good way. As previously stated, Mr. Rush does not speak for the majority of blacks, therefore he needs to shut his mouth for the more he talks, the worst it gets.

    December 31, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. bill in montgomery

    I agree with John in Ohio. After listening to Bobby Rush speak, it's obvoius he's an uneducated moron, who thinks all Blacks have to speak Ebonics or be appointed to every vacant position, regardless of whether they're qualified or not. Of course like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, he's got to play the Race Card. I've got an ideal; let the people of Illinois vote to see who thay want to represent them, maybe that person won't be Black!!! Maybe they'll be an American! Wouldn't that be novel???

    December 31, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Empty suit, empty promises

    Please Lemocrats keep this up, you are the gift that keeps on giving.

    Thank you for bringing to the forefront FINALLY the cesspool that politics are in Chicago and the leader of "Hope and Change" is from the same cloth as Ayers, Wright, Rush, Burris, Bloggy and Daley.

    The media was silent on Obambi cutting out his only challengers to him geting elected to the Senate and pretty much ignored his using Wright, Ayers and everyone of these crooks to make his way up the ladder and discarding them after he was done.

    Sorry Obambi, the only thing "typical" is you.

    December 31, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Mel

    Bobby Rush has betrayed the citizens of Illinois and all of black america, by daring to attempt to quiet critics by injecting race into this. As a black liberal, I am ashamed, disgusted, & angry. This has nothing to do with the Little Rock 9 or segregation. Burris discredits himself by accepting this appointment. These people can't be this stupid!

    December 31, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Vic

    This is just the beginning of many instances where race will be used to overpower the rights of others. I just hope the day comes when all can agree on the merits of political appointees, but this act is probably a good example of what seems to be just the opposite.

    December 31, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Brewsky

    I need a lawyer's interpretation. The following is from the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3, in regards to the two Senators from each state:

    "...and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies."

    I read this as Blago can make a temporary appointment, but when the legislature reconvenes, they can fill the seat. Legislators all across this country are getting ready to hold special sessions due to budget shortfalls. Can't the legislature overturn his appointment at that time. I know I am missing an important point here – can somebody help me out?

    December 31, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Andy

    What a complete idiot. Who voted for this guy! I hope he loses in his next election b/c we don't need any race baiting. This is about Blago being a crook and a terd....not about Buris being black.

    December 31, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. LIP

    And from the bottom of the deck, appears the ever present, couldn't do it the right way, Race Card; a Jesse Jackson original move that always works when all else fails.
    All Americans, to include black and white, should not stand for this political posturing. These acts only serve to divide us and not unite us and Gov. Bladgojevich has done a disservice to fellow Americans by this very act.

    December 31, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Mike

    Bobby Rush seems like the biggest racist out there.

    December 31, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. MikeH

    Bobby Rush seemed intoxicated when he spoke to the crowd, he really slurred his speech.

    That vicious innuendo of mine aside, Rush's suggestion flys in the face of an African American getting elected President.

    Rush has shown to me he is unqualified to occupy the political office he presently holds. Let the voters remove him during the next election cycle, for now it's just wind through the tree tops.

    December 31, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. patriot

    Get a clue, Rush. Don't you know Americans of all races don't want to play that game anymore. We've moved on. Sounds like you were born too late.

    December 31, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. David from Southern Illinois

    Rush is a Blagojevich yes man. Who cares what he thinks or says!

    December 31, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Lyndon from CA

    The state of Illinois and the city of Chicago deserves better representation than Roland Burris and Bobby Rush. We all know about Gov. Blockhead. It can't any worse than an African American Politician playing the race card to solicit sympathy.

    December 31, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Dan

    Clearly the Senate Democrats were acting in a racist manner when they said they would block anyone Blagojevich tried to appoint. If you can't see that you're .... oh, never mind.

    December 31, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12