Count Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., as one supporting Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s appointment of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate.
"My prayers have been answered, because I prayed fervidly that the governor would … appoint an African American," said Rush, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "We need to have not just one African American in the U.S. Senate. We need to have many African Americans in the U.S. Senate."
"Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate," Rush said at the Blagojevich press conference yesterday. "I will ask you to not hang and lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. I don’t think that anyone — any U.S. senator who’s sitting in the Senate right now — wants to go on record to deny one African-American for being seated in the U.S. Senate."
This morning on CBS, Rush upped the ante, comparing the prospect of the U.S. Senate refusing to seat Burris to Orval Faubus, George Wallace and Bull Connor blocking the progress of integration and civil rights.
"I’m sure that the U.S. Senate doesn’t want to see themselves in the same position," Rush said.
In defiance of the Supreme Court, former Arkansas Gov. Faubus, a Democrat, in 1957 ordered the National Guard to prevent African American students from integrating Little Rock Central High School. Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, also a Democrat, proclaimed "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" and spent much of his life preaching racism. Former Birmingham, Alabama, Public Safety Commissioner and Klansman Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Connor, also a Democrat, unleashed dogs and turned fire hoses on peaceful civil rights marchers.
When it was pointed out that President-elect Obama — who unsuccessfully challenged Rush for his congressional seat in 2000 — also believes Burris should not be seated because of the Blago taint, Rush said, "all these folks who are opposed to Gov. Blagojevich, they need to take a chill pill, we are still a nation of laws." He predicted "the U.S. Senate will have to accept him."
All of this is a huge turnaround for Mr. Rush. On December 9, the congressman said, “I believe that the acts that are alleged to have been committed by the Governor are so heinous that he has forfeited his right to appoint someone to fill the seat of President-Elect Barack Obama. My bottom line is that the Governor should not be the one to make the appointment to this important office."