Former Black Panther in House will not seek re-election, will Pelosi follow suit?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The only Democrat to beat Barack Obama in an election will not seek re-election in 2022. Rep. Bobby Rush was first elected to represent his district in the South Side of Chicago in 1992. Rush says it is time to go home and enjoy time with his grandchildren.

Rush is the most senior Illinois House lawmaker and is considered the dean of the Illinois delegation. When Barack Obama challenged him in the 2000 Democratic primary, he lost to Rush. This is a notable retirement for House Democrats not only because this is a longtime member of Congress who is packing it in but it is also an acknowledgment of the coming red wave in 2022. This announcement brings the number of House Democrats who are not seeking re-election to 24.

Bobby Rush is a former member of the Black Panthers, a domestic terrorist group founded in the 1960s. Rush co-founded the Illinois chapter. He was big on calling police “pigs” and encouraged members to arm themselves. As “defense minister” of the Black Panthers, he advocated for “offensive violence against the power structure” rather than waiting to go on the defense. By the middle of the 1970s, the Black Panthers were on the decline and Rush left the organization without any regrets. “We started glorifying thuggery and drugs”, he told People. Rush, a deeply religious born-again Christian, said, “I don’t repudiate any of my involvement in the Panther party—it was part of my maturing.” That sounds a lot like domestic terrorist Bill Ayres, also a resident of Illinois and one who played a part in Barack Obama’s political career. Rush is 75 years old now.

Mr. Rush, 75, a pastor and former Black Panther who built himself into an electoral powerhouse in his district on the South Side of Chicago, said in an announcement video obtained by The New York Times that he wanted to focus on his ministerial work and his family.

“I’m not retiring — I’m returning home,” Mr. Rush said in the video, in which he reflected on nearly three decades of service in Congress and earlier battles with a rare cancer. “I’m returning to my church. I’m returning to my family.”

“Being a member of Congress — although it’s powerful — it can be very limited,” he added, saying he would be broadening his horizons. “I think I’ll be more effective because I have the gift of a 75-year-old, and that’s wisdom.”

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he disclosed his plans, Mr. Rush said his decision came after a conversation with his 19-year-old grandson, Jonathan, saying that he did not want his grandchildren “to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper.”

So, adios to him. His seat is safe for Democrats. Democrats see the writing on the wall – Republicans are going to take the House back in the 2022 midterm elections. This means that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be back to ranking member of the House Democrats. Will she hang around or will she, too, decide it’s time to get to know her grandchildren? One possible indication of what will happen comes with the announcement that her executive director for Congress is leaving for greener pastures. Jorge Aguilar is joining a strategy and communications shop called theGroup. He’ll advise clients on “navigating the intricacies of the Democratic Caucus and stakeholder organizations.” Why would he leave now if Pelosi was planning to continue to serve in the House without her speakership? She’s 81 years old and hasn’t officially announced her intention to run for re-election.

Pelosi held a private phone call with some supporters and donors on Monday afternoon, supporters she calls VIPs. She held the phone call because she wasn’t able to have them as guests at her annual Christmas party due to the coronavirus. Her push is on passing the Build Back Better legislation for Biden and she encouraged those on the call to get out there and brag about all of Biden’s successes so far. I know.

“And we have to [brag] in a more forceful way, in a more unified way. Under his leadership, President Biden has already produced 6 million jobs. His predecessor was producing 30,000 jobs a month, he’s [Biden] already produced 6 million jobs with his initiatives.”

Democrats have their work cut out for themselves if they are relying on Biden’s alleged successes for their re-elections. True, he pushed through an obscene amount of taxpayer dollars on COVID spending and assisting families get through financial hardships brought on by the pandemic. Unfortunately, some of that backfired because there is a worker shortage post-lockdowns and some of that is because people chose to take government payments instead of going back to jobs which paid less than the government checks, in many cases. Biden was able to sign an infrastructure bill with the help of some Republican votes. Other than spending taxpayer dollars, what has he accomplished? We’ve lost respect on the world stage because of his tragic mishandling of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. That fall-out continues today with thousands of people left behind at the hands of the Taliban though Biden promised to get them out. Inflation is causing soaring prices on everything, including gas prices, food prices, and all everyday purchases. Interest rates are set to rise this year. We are again dependent on foreign energy thanks to Biden’s bone-headed energy policies. Our southern border is overrun by illegal migrants and unmanageable by DHS because of Biden’s open border policies. Where is all the good news that Democrats are supposed to point to in the mid-term elections?

Pelosi is continuing to use the discredited tropes about the BBB bill. She calls it transformative legislation.

“So this is transformative. But people tell me, don’t use the word transformative. Just say it lowers costs. It lowers costs for health care whether it’s home health care — costs for families across America, it lowers cost of child care, it enables so much more to happen. So we’re very, very proud of the legislation. Now we just have to get it passed. And what all that I said about it: it creates job, it lowers taxes for families, it lowers costs for families, and it is fully paid for by making everyone – wealthiest and corporate America – pay their fair share.”

None of her claims are correct. The middle class will get caught in the midst of all this ‘help’ from the federal government as they always do. The talking point that the bill is paid for has been discredited by the OMB. The claim that only whose who make $400,000 and more will pay more in taxes is a joke. Even the promise of child care assistance winds up increasing the price for middle class parents.

Democrat politicians are heading for the exits because the Biden presidency has proven to be a complete disaster within its first few months. There is no indication on the horizon that anything will change going forward.