IrishPirate gives us a nice article on the strategic moral outrage of Bobby Rush:
He went so far as to compare Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who in 1963 stood in the doorway of a University of Alabama school building to block two black students from entering. Reid and Senate Democrats pledged to refuse any appointee sent by Blagojevich, even Burris, who would be the chamber's only black member.
Rush's lecture, however, seems quite two-faced considering he chaired Blair Hull's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.
You remember Hull - the millionaire blackjack player who invested a record $30 million into an unsuccessful Senate bid.
Hull is white.
If sending a black senator to Washington is so important now, why didn't Rush support a black candidate four years ago? Not only was Obama on the Democratic ballot, but Joyce Washington, a black woman and health care executive, was as well.
Back then, Rush set aside ethnicity. It wasn't that important.
This puts me in the mind of this article by Jonathan Chait on Bob Johnson. Johnson made a career out of agitating for greater representation of black people in the halls of big business--especially when he was the black person in question. Rush isn't Bob Johnson--not even close--but the technique of selective pro-blackness is the same:
As Johnson tells it, he asks only to be treated like any other entrepreneur, black or white. But he applies his disregard for race selectively. When he's asked to help the black community, he's just a businessman. On the other hand, when Johnson's own interests are at stake, he portrays himself as a stand-in for black America. Race is his catchall justification for all sorts of socially and economically noxious behavior. He has turned the racial mau-mau into a business plan.
As I said yesterday, it is amazing to me that just four years ago Rush wouldn't support either black candidate running for the Senate. But now in '08, it's a national embarrassment that we don't have a black person in the senate.