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. Peggy from IA

    I totally agree with all of the previous comments. Bobby Rush's statements are offensive and ignorant. It is not about the color of the man's skin anymore for the majority of Americans, but it is about honor and integrity. Blago, Burris & Rush must go.

    December 31, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Joyce

    Get over it, Mr. Rush! The senate made the statement that they would not seat any appointee of Blago's prior to Mr. Burris' appointment. That meant they would not seat any Blago appointment whether he was purple, green, black, white, or plaid!!

    I have raised my family to respect and treat all races equally. Unfortunately, Mr. Rush is contradicting my teachings.

    December 31, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Andy

    Not every issue must be seen through the prism of race.

    December 31, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. jake

    So if Rod had nominated O.J. Simpson, would the Senate be racist if it refused to sit him?

    December 31, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. June, FL

    As an African American I can tell you it's pure jealousy. Rush is an idiot if he thinks we're going to allow him and his Blago boy to ruin Barack's moment.

    That appointee is dead in the water. No one wants him but Blago boy and his buffoon Rush.

    It will NOT HAPPEN. They need to stop hanging on Barack's coat-tails and sit down somewhere.

    December 31, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. girrlgil, sanfrancisco

    I am a black but in 100% disagreement with Bobby Rush. Though there is no black representative in the senate, that doesn't mean the law and leaders perspective have to disrespected in order to replace a Obama senate seat with a black representative. Bobby Rush is playing the race card. He is still in the dark ages. Let the people of illinoi vote for their candidate.

    December 31, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. John DeCoste

    The "guv" could have really created a situation to take away from his nonsense if he could have found a black, woman who was jewish to appoint. The "guv" is the worst of the worst. Another clown who gets into politics to enrich himself at the expense of the people he represents. Kick the bum out.

    December 31, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. larry

    Makes you wonder what Blago has on these two Afro-Americans....must be pretty bad that these two idiots would even step up to the podium with Blago...makes them all look like an oreo cookie....

    December 31, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Tony L. - Atlanta

    I'm black and I do not see this as a race thing. The democrats do not want the perception of impropriety tainting the choice of the senator for Chicago. Perception is a significant factor in this case. This has nothing to do with race. Bobby Rush is totally off-base on this one.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Eugene in Brooklyn

    This is why people are disgusted by electoral politics–such a cynical, dishonest ploy by Rep. Rush. Obviously the Dems are motivated by disgust at Blagojevich. I'm sure they are very uncomfortable with blocking Rush, and I am sure that they would like there to be more African-Americans in power. They are not racists blocking a potential Senator because he is black. The National Guard at Little Rock blocked the black students because they were black; this is a completely different situation.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Jordan - San Marcos, TX

    It's Rush's carefree use of the incredibly and historically powerful word "lynch" that is the most disturbing thing here.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Michael Smith

    So far Gov. Blago has not been found guilty of any crime and he has not been removed from office therfore he has the right to perofrm the duties of his office and make appointments as he see's fit. I'm not at all a fan of the Governor and I'm not defending him or his actions but there is such a thing as due process in this country! Did anyone try and stop Nixon from appointing Ford? No! We can't put the wagon before the mule people! Impeach and remove the Governor or indict him and give him a fair trial but do not tread on his rights in the mean time.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Independent In NY

    What actually maks me angry is Rush playing the race card when race has NOTHING to do with this.

    DESPICIBLE!!!

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. TimMN

    More and more divided Democratic party!

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Myron

    I'm African-American and strongly object to this shameless playing of the race card to shield the bad judgment of Blagojevich and Burris.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. JC

    Due process can any of you say that. The govenor maybe an idiot by he's still the govenor and has the right to appoint anyone he chooses. Until he impeached of found guilty he's incharge. Mr. Rush did not help thing with his comments but still Mr. Burris is quailfied to senator then the senate should seat him or hold their own investigation has rather there was any wrong doing by the govenor in making his choice. Also America is in the toilet now and we need the congress to be focused on how we get out of the mess that we find ourselves in due to congress not doing their in the first place. Stay on point.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. asjrmd

    His appointment should be blocked, no matter what color his skin is. It's like a mafia capo sending a bought politicial to the US Senate. Would they seat him/her? I think not.

    December 31, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Jesus R.

    Give me a break! This is not about racism and it is disgusting that Rush is making it so. Shame on you!!!!

    December 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Walt D

    Rush is still mad at Obama for running against him fro Congress years ago. LIke Blago, Rush is trying to stick it to Obama by playing the race card. Plus, Rush is beginning to sound more like the right-wing Limbaugh with such stupid statements.

    LIke Blago, Rush seems to have no principles. Neither does Burris. All three will do anything to get their hands on power.

    December 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. ran

    The moral outrage is any one who would use race as the reason for not wanting to seat this person or any other person that this Gov. picks. Any one who cares about the senate would not accept the offer made by this gov. under these toxic conditions.

    December 31, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. sick of the bastard

    If filling the senate seat with a black is all that is required, then allow
    me to nominate O.J. Simpson instead of Burris with the attitude
    "Youse got to give me the job, I's black.

    December 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Diane, PA

    Well, all I can say is the steak may be good, but if you find it in a garbage can, you leave it alone. Burris may be a good man, but he was found in a garbage can. This means he will not be a US Senator. Yes, I know he wants to be a Senator, just as much as Blagoboy wants to use him.

    Blagoboy can use Burris, but he won't use us. Our answer is no, and I'm a black American. No to Blago, no to Burris and no to washed up Rush. NO, hell no.

    December 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Lance Coardill

    Poor Roland has been out of the limelight for some time and really misses it. Perceiving this as his last opportunity to play in the big leagues, King Herod could have offered an appointment and he'd take it. He's already said he only wants to finish Obama's current term and then return to private life, but isn't that what they all (at least those not indicted or otherwise forced out) say?

    December 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. larry

    So since Obama opposes Burris being in the Senate, in Rush's eyes this makes Obama a racist. Rush needs to shut the hell up.

    December 31, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. mario

    It is sad to see elected leaders play the race card when it has no place in the game. The senate stated that they would not approve ANY appointtee by the governor. When it applies to all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds, how can it be racist.
    He is the one injecting race into this argument, not the senate.

    December 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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