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. dittohead with forty names

    Blago is going to look good in a taylor made orange jumpsuit.Richard Rohde,thats the smartest statement ive ever seen you make.HUH?You should be a standup comic, lmao.

    December 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Kimstan

    Ridiculous. As a black American, I feel insulted by this argument. Blago's choice (the person) is not the issues here. He is not qualified to appoint anyone. How do we know that Burris did not apy for the seat. Why do we always rush to the race issue on issues that have nothing to do with race? I would not have accepted a white person either appointed by this Blago guy. This is nothing to do with race.
    Those people who talk about racism where not applicable are actually racist.

    December 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Molly

    This is B.S. and blantent race baiting. Rush should be ashamed of himself!!!!

    December 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. CJ

    Rush is acting just like Bush we need to act like intelligent people. Need to move on beyond race. I am not black but I am hispanic and we do not appoint because you are black, brown, yellow , the Gov., is a crook and has been one, look at the education money in Illinois and all the money that he tried to shake down. My husband and I lived in Illinois and husband was a school teacher in Illinois and the Gov., made a lot of promises but kept NONE! Just get the Gov., out of office and hope that the people from Illinois can finally get an honest person in office.

    December 31, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. ACV

    It's refreshing to read these posts (though some of them are sadly sophomoric in their insults). Playing the race card was absurd and utterly illogical, and Rush is a coward for doing so. The people saw through the ludicrousness of his argument and are now mercilessly ridiculing him for it. He deserves it. People like Rush are the antithesis of the Civil Rights Movement.

    December 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. email4kh

    The Illinois legislature removes Governor Sociopath from office, according to Illinois law. Lt. Governor Quinn, as Governor, appoints Burris.
    Problem solved.
    It could be done TODAY.

    December 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Nancy

    The Dems just elected a Black President for crying out loud. This has nothing to do with Burris being a black. The whole appointment is suspicious. Stop using the race card! This is ridiculous.

    December 31, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Mickie

    Oh please! First the blacks are criticized because people believe they voted for Obama just because he is black - now they are outraged because they won't automatically approve a senator just because he is black. Unhappy, miserable people will be unhappy and miserable no matter what the facts are. I cannot comment on the qualifications of this nominee and I think it should be up to the people of Illinois since they are the ones who will be represented. If a special election is not possible or too expensive, then I believe the Pres. Elect Obama or the entire Democratic Senate should decide.

    December 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Carrie

    Rush you don't speak for me and I suspect most African Americans. This is not about race. I am ashamed you injected racism into this discussion where it was not warranted. It was quite clear NO appointment by this governor showed be accepted at this time given what we know already. It has NOTHING to do with Burris. Again, let me repeat. Have you been following this situation? Get on the same page with the rest of us or retire....

    December 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Brian

    I am a white male, but am pretty sure saying "we will reject ANYONE you appoint" is not racist. I could be confused though since I am not a minority and was not around during the civil rights movement.

    December 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Rick

    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.

    December 31, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Robin



    December 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Lyndon from CA

    Question: Will an Obama presidency embolden Black Panther types like Bobby Rush to push their radical agendas? Something to think about America.

    December 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. proudliberal-independent

    what a dillweed.

    December 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. redneck

    Thank you Illinois! Don't you just love Politics unveiled! What a bunch of houligans !

    December 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Gregory H. Brooklyn, New York

    I think Mr. Rush is stuck in 1957 and wanted to make head-line news. This comparison is so off, he must have a brain fart. But he got his Head-Line.

    December 31, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. MorningStar

    This is not a matter of race, it is the matter of law. The governor still has the right to nominate a senator; this is the law in Illinois. Those who don't want him to nominate a senator have had enough time to change the law. They did not change it. This man, Blago is still innocent according to our laws. After the justice system will be done with him, if he is found guilty and if it is proven that he has sold the senate seat to this nominee, then this nominee should step down from the senate. Rules are rules. Mr. Holy senator Reed does not have the power or the right to block this nominee. After all, all those politician has their own skeletons…

    December 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. rachel

    Wondered when this would come up. People seemed to think that because Obama was elected it would stop people from throwing racisim accusations out there. Blago is gov and has a right to make the appointment and my guess is that he knew this would flare up. I am not a big Obama fan but I wish him well during his presidency but his team also used the racisim card, for like a month straight you coudn't go with hearing him say I know I dont look like all the other presidents it got to be over kill. I dont for a minute think that the dems don't want to appoint the guy because he is black, but because of the situation Blago is in. Blago may be guilty as sin but he should have his day in court.

    December 31, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Chicago GOP

    Senate Democrats are not opposing Burris because of his color, but due to the lack of integrity shown by the man appointing him. If Burris truly is the best candidate for the position, he will be elected in the "special session" proposed by Illinois lawmakers. We need to stop placing such an important consideration on color; we are in much different times than 1957!!! With the recent election of an black president, we are in an era that African-Americans couldn't imagine in 1957. It is time that we heed the advice of Martin Luther King, Jr. and judge men based on their character and not on the color of their skin. As long as we keep making race a key issue, there is no chance for racial differences to subside.

    December 31, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Frank

    I feel slimed by a racist slimeball. And CNN will block my comment.

    Good thing Obama is done with vacation, now he can speak to these racist comments.

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

    Dems played the race card throughout 2008 to get their man in the white house. It won't be possible to put the genie back in the bottle.

    December 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. In Houston, TX

    Why are we even considering his thoughts on the issue? Isn't his point of view inconsequential? (big word, I know. get you thesaurus) The bottom line is that Blago should not have made an appointment. Now the scrutiny of the media is upon you Buris. and you are not clean

    December 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. John from New York

    I am not happy that this has turned into a race issue. This whole matter is starting to stink badly.

    December 31, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. STAY STRONG DEMS, hickory, nc

    It's all a TRANSPARENT set up to make the Dems darned if they do and darned if they don't....the moment Blago appointed an African American, KNOWING his apptmt. would not be seated, it was obvious that a race card would be attempted. Hopefully, the state Dems will stand strong, alongside Pres. Elect Obama on this one.

    December 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Simpliticus

    What is the plan of a disgraced governor here? Could it be that by putting forth a decent nominee for the senate position, further castigation will immediately stop? I am sorry but the prospect of the entire process is totally tainted despite who the governor announces as replacing Obama, so I agree with the Senate. Until Blago is gone, no further process should continue!

    December 31, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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