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Will race factor into Senate appointment?

Expert: Blago played 'race card'
December 31, 2008 3:02:42 PM PST
The governor's decision to appoint Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate has raised the issue of race.Some thought the election of Barack Obama meant that America was moving into a post racial society, but as several political consultants point out, the appointment of Roland Burris is a reminder that racial politics remains part of the urban political scene.

The issue of race is behind a strong push for Democratic U.S. senators to rethink their rejection of the Burris selection.

'I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," said Rep. Bobby Rush, (D) Chicago.

Rep. Rush's strong words were delivered during the middle of Tuesday's announcement that the embattled governor had appointed Burris to the Senate seat- even though lawmakers had asked him not to do so and called for his resignation. Rush challenged members of the U.S. Senate not to turn their backs on the chance to seat the only African-American senator.

"This was a very clever move on Blagojevich's part. He is the one who played the race card. He makes it very, very difficult for Senate to turn reject an African American of substance," said Don Rose, political consultant.

Democratic senators and the nation's first African- American president-elect had already announced they will not support any candidate appointed by Governor Blagojevich. However, does Congressman Rush have a point?

"Race is the foundation of this country. It is not going anywhere all this has done is bring it back front and center," said Delmarie Cobb, political consultant.

Democratic political consultant Delmarie Cobb believes without any black senators, it's absolutely necessary to keep Obama's senate seat African American. However, Don Rose, also democratic political consultant, said focusing on race is not a politically smart move.

"Raising racial issues never a good strategy. Obama won by not raising the issue," said Rose.

Rose does agree with Cobb that race is an underlying factor and could make a difference in the appointment. He predicts that the Congressional Black Caucus my put some pressure on senators to seat the only African-American senator.


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