Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chicago Politics

I saw this headline in my local paper, "Illinois Corruption: Deep Roots, Tough to Weed Out" an AP piece by Sharon Cohen. In this piece, she details the long, long history of corruption in Chicago, and Illinois, politics. Also in this lengthy article, the only mention of Obama, the man who chose to move to Chicago precisely to get INTO politics, was this:
There have been reforms in the state, most notably a new ethics law designed to limit the impact of money in politics. It was approved only after Obama, a former state senator, called his one-time mentor, Senate President Emil Jones, and urged its passage.

His "one-time mentor"? Are you freakin' KIDDING me??? How about the Kingmaker who put Obama's name on legislation on which he had not worked?? Oh, wait, that's just too close to the truth of Obama's lack of experience/qualifications. No way can the AP get that close...

Ahem. But of course, the ONLY reason The One made the decision to begin his political career in Chicago, apparently, was to clean up Illinois politics. Hahahahaha! Yeah, and that's why he endorsed Blagojevich - TWICE. And worked on his campaign. But why quibble over past history, right? RIGHT??

That does seem to be the MO around anything related to BO. It is really amazing to me. In my opinion, though, the only way someone can deny Obama is a Chicago-style politician is flat our ignorance, or flat our denial of reality. Take your pick. There is NO way from the stories that have come out about Obama, his relationships to Blagojevich, Rezko, Wright, Meeks, Ayers, et al, that he is above typical Chicago politics. The Rezko thing ALONE is indicative of his involvement. And there is no way that Blagojevich JUST became corrupt as of Nov. 5th when Obama, with the help of ANOTHER corrupt Chicago political institution, ACORN (there have been so many stories written on ACORN and its actions this year, that I scarcely would know were to start for just one link, but here's one to a YouTube video, and here's another. Again, this is but the tip of the iceberg of information available on this connection.), helped him become PEBO.

Yes, I know the MSM has been a HUGE help in both regards - ignorance and denial. But not ALL reputable sources were completely in the tank for The One. The New Yorker, for instance, had some impressive pieces, particularly this one,The Political Scene: "Making It: How Chicago shaped Obama. The article title alone is indicative of the effect of Chicago-style politics on Obama. The author, Ryan Lizza, published this article in July 21, 2008, so like I said, the information was definitely available...

Many of us have heard of Alice Palmer, one of the first people (of whom we are aware) thrown under the bus by a power-hungry Obama. There was another woman, too, Toni Preckwinkle, who had a whole lot to say about the young Mr. Obama on his ascension into Chicago politics:
One day in 1995, Barack Obama went to see his alderman, an influential politician named Toni Preckwinkle, on Chicago’s South Side, where politics had been upended by scandal. Mel Reynolds, a local congressman, was facing charges of sexual assault of a sixteen-year-old campaign volunteer. (He eventually resigned his seat.) The looming vacancy set off a fury of ambition and hustle; several politicians, including a state senator named Alice Palmer, an education expert of modest political skills, prepared to enter the congressional race. Palmer represented Hyde Park—Obama’s neighborhood, a racially integrated, liberal sanctuary—and, if she ran for Congress, she would need a replacement in Springfield, the state capital. Obama at the time was a thirty-three-year-old lawyer, university lecturer, and aspiring office-seeker, and the Palmer seat was what he had in mind when he visited Alderman Preckwinkle.

“Barack came to me and said, ‘If Alice decides she wants to run, I want to run for her State Senate seat,’ ” Preckwinkle told me. We were in her district office, above a bank on a street of check-cashing shops and vacant lots north of Hyde Park. Preckwinkle soon became an Obama loyalist, and she stuck with him in a State Senate campaign that strained or ruptured many friendships but was ultimately successful. Four years later, in 2000, she backed Obama in a doomed congressional campaign against a local icon, the former Black Panther Bobby Rush. And in 2004 Preckwinkle supported Obama during his improbable, successful run for the United States Senate. So it was startling to learn that Toni Preckwinkle had become disenchanted with Barack Obama.

Well, I'll be damned - Obama DIDN'T win all of his races! Amazing how we have RARELY (if ever) heard about his "doomed" race. Or that some people who know him, really know him, no longer are delighting in his glow:
Preckwinkle is a tall, commanding woman with a clipped gray Afro. She has represented her slice of the South Side for seventeen years and expresses no interest in higher office. On Chicago’s City Council, she is often a dissenter against the wishes of Mayor Richard M. Daley. For anyone trying to understand Obama’s breathtakingly rapid political ascent, Preckwinkle is an indispensable witness—a close observer, friend, and confidante during a period of Obama’s life to which he rarely calls attention.

Although many of Obama’s recent supporters have been surprised by signs of political opportunism, Preckwinkle wasn’t. “I think he was very strategic in his choice of friends and mentors,” she told me. “I spent ten years of my adult life working to be alderman. I finally got elected. This is a job I love. And I’m perfectly happy with it. I’m not sure that’s the way that he approached his public life—that he was going to try for a job and stay there for one period of time. In retrospect, I think he saw the positions he held as stepping stones to other things and therefore approached his public life differently than other people might have.”

Well, again, if anyone could see the trajectory of Obama's career as anything other thank opportunistic "stone-stepping," it is only because they did not WANT to see that Obama was a driven POLITICIAN.

But here is my point: Chicago politics. This is a major foundation the MSM and Obama worshipers/supporters refuse to acknowledge - because it does not fit the narrative they have created:
On issue after issue, Preckwinkle presented Obama as someone who thrived in the world of Chicago politics. She suggested that Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons. “It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners,” she said. “It’s a good place for a politician to be a member.” Preckwinkle was unsparing on the subject of the Chicago real-estate developer Antoin (Tony) Rezko, a friend of Obama’s and one of his top fund-raisers, who was recently convicted of fraud, bribery, and money laundering: “Who you take money from is a reflection of your knowledge at the time and your principles.” As we talked, it became increasingly clear that loyalty was the issue that drove Preckwinkle’s current view of her onetime protégé. “I don’t think you should forget who your friends are,” she said.

Others told me that Preckwinkle’s grievances against Obama included specific complaints, such as his refusal to endorse a former aide and longtime friend, Will Burns, in a State Senate primary—a contest that Burns won anyway. There was also a more general belief that, after Obama won the 2004 United States Senate primary, he ignored his South Side base. Preckwinkle said, “My view is you have to bring your constituency along with you. Granted, you have to make some tough decisions. Granted, sometimes you have to make decisions that people won’t understand or like. But it’s your obligation to explain yourself and try to do your supporters the courtesy of treating them with respect.” Ivory Mitchell, who for twenty years has been the chairman of the local ward organization in Obama’s neighborhood—considered the most important Democratic organization on the South Side—was one of Obama’s earliest backers. Today, he says, “All the work we did to help him get where he finally ended up, he didn’t seem too appreciative.” A year ago, Mitchell became a delegate for Hillary Clinton.

What?? Obama not appreciative? Yeah - no kidding. He has made it abundantly clear that he will step on whoever whenever it is politically - I said, POLITICALLY - expedient for him to do so. And still:
The same month Mitchell endorsed Clinton, the Obama campaign reached out to Preckwinkle, and eventually she signed on as an Obama delegate. I asked her if what she considered slights or betrayals were simply the necessary accommodations and maneuvering of a politician making a lightning transition from Hyde Park legislator to Presidential nominee. “Can you get where he is and maintain your personal integrity?” she said. “Is that the question?” She stared at me and grimaced. “I’m going to pass on that...”

Can't say as I blame her. What does it say when someone who DOES actually know him has "to pass" on answering a question regarding Obama's integrity? Or when the governor of his home state refers to him as a "mo***r f***er"?? These are the people who KNOW him, after all, not just who worship him from afar.

And then there is this (emphasis mine):
Chicago is not Obama’s home town, but it’s where he chose to forge his identity. Several weeks ago, he moved many of the Democratic National Committee’s operations from Washington to Chicago, making the city the unofficial capital of the Democratic Party; his campaign headquarters are in an office building in the Loop, Chicago’s downtown business district. But Chicago, with its reputation as a center of vicious and corrupt politics, may also be the place that Obama needs to leave behind.

Exactly. Chicago, with its long, long, LONG history of corrupt politics, is the city in which Obama decided to forge his political identity. One other interesting note on Obama and Chicago politics:
...David Axelrod, who has been Obama’s chief strategist since 2002 and is the foremost political consultant in Chicago, was a witness to all of it, first as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune and later as the chief consultant to two mayors: Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor and a hero of the Independents, and the current Mayor Daley, whose last name still carries negative connotations in the precincts of Hyde Park...

Uh huh. David Axelrod has shown himself to be a part of Chicago-style politics in the way he has run Obama's campaign, that's for sure. And no doubt, he will continue to use Chicago-style politics in the White House, too. Why change horses in mid-stream, right?

Oh, wait - that's the wrong talking point. Ahem. Yes, Obama is trying to distance himself from Chicago politics NOW. Now that so many of its players' wrong-doings are in the headlines, but those of us who have been keeping score know the real deal. Obama is inextricably bound to Chicago politics, and Chicago STYLE politics, as we saw this year with Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and John McCain. Basically, anyone who had the "audacity to get in Obama's way experienced Chicago politics up close and personal, and it was not pretty.

There is much, much more to the New Yorker article, and I hope you will click HERE to finish reading it (it's long, which is why I am not reprinting it all here). In it you will read about Obama's contentious relationship with another member of the IL Senate, Rickey Hendon; his relationship with Rezko, Ayers, and Dorhn; how his community organizing REALLY went (hint: not as well as he likes to claim NOW), and much more. I will leave you with this passage:
Part of Obama’s political success is that he has been able to exploit relationships with important yet ethically dubious figures in Illinois while still maintaining his independence. In some ways, this is an Illinois tradition. When the liberal reformer Adlai Stevenson ran for governor, in 1948, one Democratic boss reportedly noted that he would “perfume the ticket.” The earnest Lincoln scholar Paul Simon stood out in the Senate for his moral rectitude and his commitment to good government even as his state wallowed in scandal. “The political bosses knew they had to have what they used to call in business a loss leader—the showcasing,” Don Rose, the Chicago political consultant, said. “The car that you sold for under its value for advertising purposes. While you had at the top of your ticket a shining star, under that it was like turning over a rock.”

Obama has said little about the scandals in his home state. Besides the Rezko and Blagojevich cases, there have been indictments and convictions against the Daley administration concerning hiring and contracting practices. Getting close to the sullied political leadership in Illinois was probably an unavoidable cost of winning the U.S. Senate seat. Emil Jones told me that another of the lessons Obama learned after his 2000 loss was the importance of political sponsorship.

You can say that again...

4 comments:

Logistics Monster said...

Rev?
Did the earthquake affect you?

Just checking in - I HATE those things.

Diamond

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, DT!

Thanks so much for asking - I just heard that we had one! :-) Actually, the only earthquake I have personally experienced was in Hilo!! Naturally - the next day, we went to Volcano National Park. Who knew that earthquakes increase volcanic activity?!?! Ahem.

Anywho, I am fine. Fortunately, since we DO live in a hurricane/earthquake prone area (though we haven't had an earthquake in a LOONNGGG time), our house is strapped from the subfooters through to the roof.

How are you?

insightanalytical said...

Saw this over at NQ...

Earthquake?? WOW! I remember one in NJ years ago. I was in bed and the house shook ....my only earthquake experience!@

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, Grl!

Just so you know, I am NOT ignoring your question - I asked Susan if there was anything different besides just a basic blogroll thing, and haven't heard back. I'll let you know when I do!

And wild abt your earthquake experience!

Turns out the one we had here wasn't all that far from here as the crow flies, but everything's a-okay!