As Mike Bates documented on Monday night, CNN’s Rick Sanchez likened Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the segregationist “Bull” Connor during an interview on Monday’s Newsroom: “Like Bull Connor in 1960s, you’re going to sit there and tell the feds, you don’t care what they say, you’re going to do it your way and you're going to do it when you want to do it?” However, earlier in the segment, Sanchez also hinted that the sheriff was acting like a Nazi in his operations against illegal immigrants: “There are twenty-five years of laws and standards used by police departments where they’re real careful about probable cause, so that we don’t create a Gestapo environment in this country” [audio of both the Gestapo reference and the “Bull Connor” label available here; video at right].
The anchor first accused Arpaio of arresting people at random in his immigration raids: “What about the other people that- who you interfered in their lives simply while you were looking for someone else?” When the sheriff denied that he had, that “the others that were illegal, we put them in jail because they have committed other crimes,” Sanchez made the Nazi reference:
On his segment of today's CNN Newsroom, anchor Rick Sanchez went for the hat trick, likening Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the infamous Theophilus “Bull” Connor, Birmingham, Alabama’s late segregationist police commissioner who ruthlessly used police attack dogs and fire hoses to thwart 1963 civil rights demonstrators, no fewer than three times.
Sanchez prefaced his interview with the Arizona sheriff:
Well, perhaps not since Bull Connor whose aggressive police tactics against blacks in the South sparked civil rights legislation in 1964 has our country seen a showdown like the one going on right now between Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio and Washington, as in the feds.
Ain't this post-racial period great? Here we have one of the more famous members of the Black Congressional Caucus accusing Senate Democrats of threatening to act like Orville Faubus, George Wallace and perhaps the most iconic of segregationists, Bull Connor.
Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther who is now a congressman from Chicago, levelled his accusation on the CBS Early Show this morning in reaction to the letter signed by all 50 Senate Democrats declaring that they would not seat Roland Burris, the African-American that Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday named to take Barack Obama's Senate seat.
Leave it to Rush to nail it. Here's how Limbaugh opened today's show, speaking of the way Bill Clinton injected race into the campaign with his comparison [view video of Clinton making his statement here] of Obama's South Carolina primary victory to Jesse Jackson's twin wins in the Palmetto State in the '80s: