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Race Has No Place in Burris Discussion

Bobby Rush.jpg

(Danville, California)

I fully expect that Roland Burris will soon be a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He meets all the Constitutional requirements, and--once all the legalities are tidied up--he will take the oath of office. As distasteful as this whole mess has been, there is no commandment that says, “Thou shalt not be appointed by a tainted governor.”

If we are to follow the rule of law, then only two questions apply: "Is he qualified?" and "Have all statutory requirements been met?" Once both are answered “yes,” then it’s done.

This brings me to a side issue that must be addressed. Why on earth do some feel the need to inject race into this? The controversy is about Rod Blagojevich, not Roland Burris; but that didn’t stop Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush from trying to make it racial.

"I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee, as you castigate the appointer, and [to] separate the appointee from the appointer," Rush said to reporters. "Roland Burris is worthy; and he is the only one who can stand in the gap during this time and gather the confidence, reestablishing confidence of the people of the state of Illinois."

On WGN-TV, Rush embellished further about Burris initially being turned away from the Senate:

"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 said. "You know, I'm talking about all of us back in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas. 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."

Poor Bobby Rush is caught in a time warp. This is 2009, not 1959. The United States just elected its first African-American President, who happened to garner 43 percent of the white votes (which was more than Al Gore or John Kerry received!). Illinois is also the only state in the U.S. that has elected two black U.S. Senators. So to suggest that the U.S. Senate (and by extension, the nation) is racist flies in the face of “the recent history of our nation,” if I can borrow a phrase from Bobby Rush.

Ward Cleaver would have been turned away from the Senate door, too! So too, would Mother Theresa. Not because they were white, but because they didn’t have legal standing. This isn’t about race; it’s about the Constitution and the law. And this is not about Roland Burris, or any other appointee. It’s about the “appointer,” a badly tainted Governor of Illinois, who happens to be white, even though that doesn’t matter.

It’s a shame that it has come to this. Ever since the scandal broke (about "Blago" trying to sell the Senate appointment), I have advocated a special election in Illinois. Let the people decide! The Senate seat belongs to them, not “Blago,” Bobby Rush or even Roland Burris.

Details of my new book on Campaign 2008, will soon be posted on my website. Keep coming back to www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta a Great Pick for Surgeon General

Sanjay Gupta.jpg

(Danville, California)

I come from a whole family of doctors, so I hope my opinions about medicine come with some factual basis.

The report today that CNN's Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is being considered for U.S. Surgeon General is great news.

Gupta is a neurosurgeon who still practices his profession and performs surgery. He's not just a "talking head" with a medical degree. He's also a former White House Fellow, which is a huge accomplishment. Colin Powell also started as a White House Fellow. It's a pretty prestigious group.

The best thing about Gupta is he is very well known and very well respected, not only in the medical and media communities, but in the public at large. Quick, name the last U.S. Surgeon General you can recall! I will bet it's Dr. C. Everett Koop, who served under President Ronald Reagan. That's a long time ago.

Why was Koop so good? Well, he was a visible and outspoken advocate for public health. Sometimes he was controversial, too, and sometimes he was in conflict with the Reagan White House. That meant he made headlines and people paid attention. Koop was big on antismoking campaigns and AIDS prevention. He was highly effective.

We have not had anyone since Dr. Koop who might be called "America's Doctor." Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a good candidate, given his high profile. The country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, especially among kids. There is much work for the new Surgeon General.

I like Gupta because he's conversational and does not talk down to people. I have interviewed him on live TV; and he's great because he's interesting, engaging and easy to understand. Plus he just commands respect.

This could be one of President-elect Obama's best choices.

Comments? Write to me at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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