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. Mavis, Detroit, MI

    Send in the clowns, huh Rush?

    December 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Joe

    The only racist in this clown show is Bobby Rush, himself.

    December 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Chicago Girl

    MikeH – get a clue. Bobby Rush is recovering from a rare form of cancer that required removal of a tumor in his jaw. His speech was impacted by the surgery, not booze.

    That being said, I totally disagree with what Rush said. Also, I wish Roland Burris would have shown some dignity and declined the appointment.

    December 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Thad

    As a black man thats from Birmingham, I find this appauling. Why place the race card?This was about greed (The governor's), and not about race. Please stop the race baiting. This was slick but not slick enough.

    December 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    No one agrees with this view. Last term for Bobby Rush, I hope.

    December 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Benjamin

    These three men are involve in a dispecable act. For one, a tainted Governor (Blagoyevich) made a tainted appointment of a three time looser (Burris) and brought along a black racist (Rush) to accuse the US Senate of racism for not going along with the fraud.

    December 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. j

    GIVE ME A BREAK! This doesn't have anything to do with race. Rush is an idiot.

    December 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. MD

    To all of you who have said this has nothing to do with race, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT...

    This has nothing to do with Burris being black and everything to do with not trusting a Gov. who is out on bail pending either an indictment or impeachment or both.

    Rush is completely wrong for playing the race card and he and Burris are BEING PLAYED by the Gov. So very very stupid on their parts...

    FYI. I'm a 52 year old Black woman...

    December 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. HouseDiva


    December 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Ceasar - Las Vegas

    What a SHAME! For Rush to inject race into the situation is shameless and appalling. What happened to dignity, self respect and common decency?
    America had moved on by electing the first Black President and it is people like Rush who are preventing progress by spewing divisive rhetoric clearly for personal gain. These people have no business being in government.

    December 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    Bobby Rush and Reverend Wright are out of touch with mainstream America. Thirty to forty years ago, they were courageous; now they just seem like angry old men.

    December 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. LesiaT

    I am from Illinois- its obvious Blago appointed for what reason? He was told his appointment wouldnt stick, I feel that choosing a politician based on race is WRONG. How about his credentials. I read Burris resume and am very impressed. However! I am against this whole- there needs to be more black men. Stating that fact and allowing nature to take its course is two very different things. Obama is the first African American President -now let the rest of the cards fall as they may without MAKING it a race thing. The definition of racism has definitely changed – its time for everyone to see that it goes both ways.

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Mikey

    It's Bushes fault I tells ya – this is all Bush's fault!!!!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Debra

    This is such a waste of time and money. Sure it was wrong what the Chicago Gov was trying to do but did he really actually do any thing illegal? Is the choice he made a valid choice? I think that the person ultimately selected is a good choice so what is the beef? Haven't we wasted enough money yet?

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Gracie, NY

    Burris is a stupid, stupid man. What fool would take an appointment from a governor who's about to go to the BIG HOUSE. The Senate has enough idiots, they don't need any more, even if they are black.

    I'm African American, I can tell you, there's always some African American out there who is just hungry enough to eat anything. Is Burris that desperate that he has to eat garbage from a garbage can.

    Note to Burris: Grow a spine and step back from this circus. Don't allow Blago boy to make a bigger fool of you than he already has.

    December 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. keith-new haven

    Ladies and Gentlemen introducing the 2008 winner of the Johnnie Cochran Memorial Race Card trophy.

    December 31, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Jose

    Why does it have to go to black person? Why not a Latino or Asian or Native American??? Why are people not asking for this racist Rush to resign?

    December 31, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Mike- Missouri

    Rush, please keep quiet – you are doing more harm than good. I wonder do these Ole guys keep up with the internet news/bloggers? If so, Rush please hush***********

    December 31, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Lisa in Illinois

    Oh please Rush – this is not about Burris being black, this is about Blagojevich – he should not be allowed to appoint anyone. What a ridiculous comment!

    December 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Veteran for OB

    I'm African American as well. Listen folks, this cat Rush is part of the old guard. He's stuck in the past. He still thinks things are like they were in the 50s and 60s. Like McCain, he probably does not use a computer much. He's a relic. Just look at him like you would a person who has been in a time capsule for 50 years, and they just let him out.

    Gramps is just a little old and senile.

    December 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. John

    Aren't these the same Democratic Senators that supported the first African American to become President? How is it that they are racist?

    That whole conference yesterday seemed set up by maniac Blago. It's funny how Rush was in the audience and was called to the podium to speak.

    I have a feeleing that both Burris and Rush have gotten something from Blago$$$.

    December 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Matt

    If recent history has taught us anything, it's that the American people are overwhelmingly accepting of a black figure in politics. That being said, there is no affirmative action in politics, nor should there be. Barack Obama was elected because he was the best candidate. No one should be ashamed because there aren't X number of black Congressmen, or X number of purple. If you're a black man or woman who feels this way, take it upon yourself to be the next Congressmen of your state.

    Besides, Democrats racist? You can't fairly generalize, but if you were to, I think that would be the wrong generalization.

    December 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Trang, Fremont CA

    Roland Burris might be a good decent man, but the way Bobby Rush injects race in this election is unfortunate. Barack Obama was elected by the people to be president because we believe he is qualified, not because he is black. The fact that he is elected also says race as in black is no longer a hindrance. So, when Bobby Rush says this at this time is really unfortunate.

    December 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Shana, Chicago

    This is ridiculous. I am an American who is black and a woman, and I believe that Illinois should have had a special election for the Senator. I oppose anyone who is appointed by this governor, and if this governor is removed and replaced by someone else, I will still oppose anyone the new governor appoints. While I would love to have an American who is black (and a woman) as a Senator, that is not what qualifies a person to be a Senator. We should get whomever the people of Illinois elect, and if that person happens to be black then wonderful, but it should be the best person for the job!

    December 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Ken in NC

    As a Black Democrat, I found the comments by Congressman Rush to be most offensive and totally uncalled for. There was no reason to try to play the RACE CARD as this is not a matter concerning Race. I understand that if for some reason Mr. Burris is not seated in the Senate it would be as has already been stated by the members of the Senate. I do seem to recall reading that they would not seat ANY replacement to fill the seat vacated by PE Obama.

    As far as his rambling on the issue of there being no Blacks in the Senate, I find that to be a true statement, however, it is not written as law or a rule that there must be a Black Senator seated in the Senate. If a Black is appointed then fine but if not that to if fine. If one wants to run for the Senate so there will be Black seated there I would seriously consider not voting for him / her. If a Black was to run for the seat for the purpose of serving the people of the state and I felt that person met the criteria established by me then I would consider voting for that candidate so please Congressman Rush, drop the racial crap. We are trying very hard in this country to move past this "Color of the Skin" and move on to the "Content of the Character". There is no legal presedence that justifies a Black in the Senate so drop that issue too.

    December 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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