The race to replace Barack Obama as Illinois’ junior senator heated up Tuesday as Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., called on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name a black man or woman to the seat.
By invoking race, Rush, who is black, drove a potential wedge between the prospective white and black contenders for the seat. Rush said it would be a “national disgrace” if Obama’s seat were not filled by an African American.
The Illinois governor has said he plans to name the replacement by the end of the year. That person would serve out the remaining two years of Obama’s term.
“We don’t want (Blagojevich) to short-circuit the will and the wisdom of the state of Illinois,” Rush told FOXNews.com, after holding a press conference in Chicago announcing his petition drive for the governor to name a black candidate.
“As we speak, there are no African Americans in the Senate. (Blagojevich) has the power to put one there.”
Turns out that it’s Rush who sounds like the “national disgrace.”
A couple of things: 1) How does Rush know that it’s the “will and wisdom of the state of Illinois” to appoint a black man or woman to fill Obama’s seat in the US Senate? 2) I guess Rep. Rush disagrees with Martin Luther King, Jr’s goal of a society where its citizens are judged by the content of their character and their qualifications and not for the color of their skin. Shame on you, Rep. Rush. You, and anyone else who makes skin color (and/or sex) their primary consideration when determining who’s the best candidate for the (or any) job.
Rush, a former Black Panther member who defeated Obama in a 2000 race for a seat in the House of Representatives, said that he wasn’t backing any particular candidate to replace Obama and that he had no insight into whether Blagojevich was leaning toward a white candidate over a black candidate, or vice-versa.
But Rush said, “We don’t want to risk being silent in this process.” He said he plans to deliver his petition to the governor by Christmas.
Among the potential black candidates who could replace Obama are Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. Among the other potential candidates are Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Tammy Duckworth, who is Asian-American, also is in the mix. However, speculation is growing that Duckworth, head of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will get the nod to lead the national department under Obama.
Chicago political consultant Philip Molfese said Blagojevich has no choice but to consider race in his decision.
“That’s, I think, an important consideration the governor has to take,” he said. “Barack Obama was the only African American in the U.S. Senate.”
Yeah. I mean, like, who cares about a little thing like qualifications, right?