December 31st, 2008
12:32 PM ET
6 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. JW

    This is so stupid, this has NOTHING to do with who is appointed it has to do with Blogo the criminal. Nobody has said anything against Burris and under different circumstances I dont think anyone would, I voted Obama and I want the senate to be more integrated, but to throw up the race card against fellow dems on this is racism itself. This is what Barak has said from the get go, its all these old timer guys black and white who are living in the past not the younger generation, that is why Barak won. Blago the criminal needs to step down and the Liet Gov of IL needs to appoint someone. The race crap is only thrown up by whites and blacks of a certain age, they are the ones out of step. I hope an african american does take the seat but they black or white will never be considered legit if appointed by blago.

    Have the population does not even know who George Wallace was, lets get out of the past and move forward, I guess not everyone got it through their heads on election night.

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Virginian

    Hey JC, can you say "common sense"? We have all read the transcripts of those calls. Of course we should give him a fair trial before we put his tail behind bars but common sense says, he should not be making any appointments. It has nothing to do with the qualifications of Mr. Burris!

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Joseph

    I will caution Senate Democrats not to over react to a an appointment that is legal and constitutional. Blago might have been tainted, but he is still the governor of illinois. Burris, as i have read about him is qualified by any measure and He is upright and He has served the State well. Senate democrats should just swallow this bitter pill and seat Burris, otherwise, they stand on a shaky groung and run the risk of becoming senate minority in a short time. They have no chance of winning this case in the court. Conservate judge will throw this case out within minutes and Liberal Judge might not even look at any merrit of it as there is none.

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. GC

    When will the black liberals stop playing the race card?
    This is simply racism at it's best.

    SAD SAD SAD

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Jim K

    If Rep Rush has a problem with it, he should run for the Senate seat when the term is up.

    December 31, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Mark, ILL

    Look, this has nothing to do with racism. Blagojevich has an accusation on him that is pending. It is like somebody accused of a ciime, waiting for his day in court and advised not to travel out of the Country but decided to travel anyway. Blagojevich, or whatever his name is, wastold on day two of this nonsense that he should not appoint any replacement with his case hanging over his head. Even his lawyer said his client WILL not appoint anybody to the seat. But Blagojevich turned around to do just that. The Buris, ought to know what the issue on the governor was. Buris is matured enough to have rejected this selection.But out of greed, Buris decided to accept and in the process, starting calling racism. Look, this has nothing to do with Buris or his credentials. Please don't call racism. It would be stupid. I see stubborness, stupidity and an attempt to clash people's head on the part of this stupid governor.

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Frank

    Where are the elephants and clowns, this is turning into quite a three ring circus. I'm trying to figure out who the ring-leader is. It doesn't seem like anyone wants to take the ring-leader's magic wand.

    Where are our leaders?

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Sue

    Let's give Obama something else to worry about. And for heaven's sake, let's argue over the right or wrong of Blago appointing anyone to garbage collector at this point. Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney smirk their way out of the White House, pardoning themselves for crimes against humanity. Makes me sick, the whole lot of them, and all the Republicans who still believe Bush somehow did a good job in 8 years. Yup, he did a great job trashing the country, the Constitution, and dragging enough Democrats down his miserable path that they would not impeach him. This is a sorry state of affairs.

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. observer

    Brewsky–check out the 17th Amendment

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Vence wilmington CA

    Any crook of any color should not designate anybody in this country. The times of George Bush are over Rush! Live with that!

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. But the deal has already been made....

    and that is that Blago would be pardoned by Obama as long as he nominated a black to his Senate seat.

    So get used to Burris-he has the job--and the citizens of Illinois

    December 31, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. But the deal has already been made....

    and that is that Blago would be pardoned by Obama as long as he nominated a black to his Senate seat.

    So get used to Burris-he has the job--and the citizens of Illinois have been "jobbed" again.

    December 31, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Frank

    Rembemer all, Roland Burris and Bobby Rush don't look like all the other senators.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    I agree with most of the posters here who say this has nothing to do with race. Neither did the presidential campaign, but some tried to make it about race. Ironically, the only one who didn't was McCain.

    Obama needs to forecfully speak up.

    December 31, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Independant Vet

    Why if Obama can get bye with all his law breaking tatics . Now others want the same treatment . At least Burns is a Citizen , an Obama an all his lies has not oproven he is a citizen . Nor has he come up with all those millions of foreign dollars , an many over the limit . An some names as Daffy Duck , Mr. Ed the talking Horse.

    Fasten your seat belts , this is going to be along 4yrs , an will; be filled with more flip flopping . Lets just say MANY MORE LIES Fom Barry an CO. To the most of us we have seen the best of the Am,erica Era.

    December 31, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. D Ayers

    I'm black, OK. Of course, it would be great if politicians were representative of their constituent's ethnicities. But first and foremost, they must represent their constituent's wishes (of which, admittedly for some, race may be biggest one). Rush and Burris are foolishly using a card from the wrong deck at the wrong time. Still, I think a reasonable compromise is to have Burris be the interim Senator until a special election can be held in the near future...given the extenuating circumstances.

    December 31, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Can someone find Obama's illegal immigrant aunt???

    Who is hiding Obama's illegal immigrant aunt? She lived off taxpayer money in Public Housing long after she was deported. As a legal immigrant, I am outraged. CNN needs to report on who is hiding her and how much are they being paid.

    December 31, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Archie C. Williams, Riverdale, Georgia

    Please people stop suggesting because one BLACK person is unhappy and starts taking about racism that all BLACKS feel the same way. Please how long is it going to take to understand the WHITES or individuals and so are BLACKS. Please we all know this has NOTHING to do with RACISM. But my quess is someone has something to gain my the comments they are making in the media. I am BLACK and do understand they said long before any one was appointed that they will veto or not select anyone this Governor appoints. And they should hold to that decision.....Again we are individuals and we do think and view situations individually.

    December 31, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Dan

    If it's such a "moral outrage" that they're no blacks in the Senate; why don't more blacks run for Senate. Furthermore, if they run and don't get elected it's the will of the people. What is this guys problem? Does he want a bunch of black people just thrown into the Senate? I'm so sick of dems and reps pulling the race card. It's a shame that politicians act like children. Yes, I'm a black man.

    December 31, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. A-BAD-SMELL....

    Gov Blagojevich arrested and not charged, yet the Democrats and the media found him guilty and sentenced him to resign...What is going on here we ask....??????????????? Proof...proof and Obama should keep his nose out of this one....unless....?????????

    December 31, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Dave from Texas

    Yeah, I have to say the phrase we will reject anyone is pretty much a disclaimer on racism, and oh yeah I once remember a man saying that we have to judge men on the content of their character...and since this is a reflection of Blago's character we have the right to not agree with it, just a thought.

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

    Rush needs to hush. Before any appoitment was made it was widely publicized that NO ONE would be approved if appointed by Blajo. Rush are you an idiot? Why or how do you get racism out of this? One should ask, what is your alterior motive for the crab in the barrel move. What has been promised to you? Or are you really just that simple.

    December 31, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Just like CNN...

    Just like you CNN bias and full of bull...Blocking what you don't like..
    Hope you go out of business........

    December 31, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Frank

    Mel, As a black liberal you have every right to be ashamed, disgusted, & angry.

    As a white conservative, I have been ashamed, disgusted and angry with these types of comments too. But I don't find Obama's comment about not looking like others on the dollar bill to be too far off from this comment. It just wasn't as blatant.

    By the way, I am also ashamed, disgusted and angry with the white racist crap that spews out of many people's mouths on a regular basis.

    It would be nice if there was one standard for all.

    December 31, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Carter

    I am a lawyer. That doesn't mean that I know everything. But I do have a good understanding of the law. Here is the problem. To be elected to the Senate, one must have only three qualifications: (1) be over the age of 30, a resident of the U.S. for at least 9 years and be a resident of the state for which one seeks appointment. The Senate's authority only allows for preclusion of one who fails to meet those standards. Mr. Burris is 71 years of age, born in the U.S. and Illinois and is a resident of Illinois. Therefore, the Senate's discretion is extremely limited. But for all of the Senate Dems and President Elect’s political posturing, by a group of lawyers who knows this very well, it smells of something else. No, I don't mean racism, I mean politics as usual (i.e. the Senate Dems want to decided whom to place in the President Elect’s seat rather than accepting the governor's choice). As for Mr. Rush, sure his charges of racism will do no more than anger most white people and some black people. His point that the Senate Dems needs to reflect America (i.e., be more diverse, rather than effectually all white) will not be easily dismissed by blacks and some whites, because as flagrant as Mr. Rush’s charges may sound, the fact remains that it is a problem. I certainly believe that the President-Elect's becoming president represented a great movement. However, I don't necessarily believe that that in and of it means that that translates into the result that a lot of white people are not concerned about race. Certainly the President Elect’s election to the high office should be cause for re-evaluation; I just don’t believe that it means that this is the end of the road. The voters who elected President Elect were mostly non-white, and while he gained a good portion of the white vote, he lost that vote handily. And as long as President Elect feels the need to ingratiate himself so as to emphasize he is biracial nature (e.g. mutt) to curry favor from white people, it is very difficult to argue that we have overcome the race issue. In his book President Elect stated that he stopped emphasizing that his mother was white because he said that he was doing it to “ingratiate” favor from white people. Most recently President Elect referred to himself as a “mutt”. I believe that his calling himself a mutt and the constant having to emphasize that his mother was white undermines the argument that we have overcome the issue of race, because if we did, apart from mentioning those things as mere facts, President Elect would not have to emphasize those facts in effort to curry favor. It simply may be that those whites that voted for President Elect were always willing to vote for an African American who was not steeped in issues and matters of race.

    December 31, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Lost in Texas FOREVER!!

    Since when does a man that would play "Obama the Magic Negro" on his show and accuse Gen Colin Powell of only supporting Obama because he was Black care ANYTHING about African-Americans?? Sorry Rushie but I for one DON'T buy it!

    December 31, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12