The most recent piece by Kass deals with an issue about which very few people are talking: Rahm Emanuel's seat. Yeah, right? Hardly anyone is talking about who is going to fill his seat:
With the eyes of the nation on the saga of Tombstone Burris—and our Illinois politicians hopping predictably toward impeaching the governor like those dancing chickens at the state fair—don't forget another vacant congressional seat of prime importance to the Obama White House.
Until last week, it belonged to U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak), now chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama, who ran on the platform of bringing reform to American politics.
With so many new readers from strange lands finally getting interested in how Chicago works—and by this I mean the editorial boards of many American newspapers—you might start by learning about Emanuel's 5th District.
It is dominated by the shadow governor of Illinois, state Sen. James DeLeo (D-How You Doin'?), the state central Democratic committeeman, the fellow who'll decide who gets slated by the party, the guy behind the guys.
Say, whaaaa? You mean there are more Chicago-style politics going on in the state even though good ol' Blago has been charged with some shenanigans? Of course, you know that type of politics has NOTHING to do with Obama, or Emmanuel, or Emil Jones , or any other Chicago politician, right? Oh, sure:
Emanuel's district runs from the historically mob-dominated town of Melrose Park on east, through Elmwood Park into the city, to Chicago's Viagra Triangle along Rush Street. No, how you doin'?
Jimmy's not talking to me these days. He didn't like the columns about his luxury car leasing deals and those trips to the casino in Aruba with that other big risk-taker, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Yeah, that Jesse White.
That is from the, "you can't make this shit up" file. Kass continues:
Yet there is another expert on Emanuel's political rise, the world's foremost authority in the field:
Unfortunately, Mr. Tomczak, a top political operative for that other famous reformer, Mayor Richard Daley, is indisposed.
Tomczak will be indisposed until July 3, 2010, when he is scheduled to get out of federal prison, where he was sent after pleading guilty to taking $400,000 in bribes for city trucking contracts in that department Daley still doesn't know anything about.
"Mr. Tomczak was a gentleman of the old school," his lawyer, Patrick Cotter, said the other day. "That was the only way he was ever taught to do things. That's not an excuse, but it is an explanation."
"A gentleman of the old school"? That's a LEGAL defense these days?? Oh, no - just in Chicago, the very place in which Obama CHOSE to begin his political career. Hmmm - I wonder why:
Years ago, Daley put Tomczak in charge of an illegal political army of stooges on the city payroll who worked elections to get promotions and overtime to benefit Daley's machine.
City Hall allowed Tomczak to bring the Democratic army out to Will County to elect his son Jeff as a Republican state's attorney. But the important work was in the city, where Tomczak muscled for Emanuel in 2002.
There were hundreds of Tomczak/Daley stooges knocking on doors, manning precincts, passing literature for Emanuel to install him and knock out a true progressive local Democrat, Nancy Kaszak.
Tomczak testified to this at a federal trial of other convicted Daley patronage chiefs. The mayor was so upset that his mouthpiece, David Axelrod, felt compelled to write an op-ed piece in the Tribune that took the side of patronage and clout, saying it wasn't all that bad, really.
Well, if AXELROD said it "wasn't all that bad," then surely, it wasn't (cough, choke):
Simultaneously, Axelrod was massaging the message for Obama about transcending the old, corrupt politics and ushering in the sunshine of reform, a slogan that sent tingles up the legs of pundits.
After Tomczak cooperated and testified, Emanuel defended Daley and denied any knowledge of the Tomczak army that elected him.
"I am not here to excuse any illegal acts or the violation of the public trust," said Emanuel at a lunch at the City Club. "Corruption is corruption. It cannot be excused and it cannot be overlooked."
But he did overlook it, saying Daley didn't know what was going on at City Hall because the mayor "outsourced" his politics, and Rahm didn't know who sent Tomczak and hundreds of knuckle-draggers to install him in Congress to do the people's business.
And now this pause until we can all stop laughing. Rahm claims Daley didn't know what was going on or that he was clueless about the legion of people out drumming up support on his behalf (wow, does THAT ever sound familiar). And that corruption cannot be tolerated???? Oh, hahahaha - that's a good one, Rahm! You card, you!
Okay - now that we've wiped our eyes from laughing 'til we cried at this massive hooeyfication, get this:
"I guess when you have hundreds of city workers show up to help you on your campaign, you don't ask any questions," said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association, in an interview Thursday.
"Rahm is one of the few people who defended the mayor in these corruption scandals. He's a creature of Chicago politics. As Mayor Daley benefited from Tomczak's efforts, so did Rahm Emanuel," Stewart said.
I have a question. Do ANY of these people believe the crap that comes spewing out of their mouths? I mean, REALLY - any one of them? I'm just asking because I cannot imagine saying stuff like this and not crack up laughing, or feel compelled to TELL THE TRUTH, but that's just me.
Meanwhile - Rahm defended Daley from all of the corruption scandals? For real? And now he's Obama's right-hand man? Wowie zowie:
Now that Emanuel is working to help Obama bring reform to the nation, 5th Congressional District candidates will eagerly rub up against Jimmy DeLeo, and the lucky one will get a kiss on the cheek. DeLeo is having a big meet soon at the Zam Zam Banquet Hall, and the neighborhood will be awash in the sound of puckering.
But do chickens really have lips?
In the meantime, Blagojevich will be impeached and his Senate appointee, Burris, will fill Obama's seat.
Tombstone will ooze into the job the way lime Jell-O fills one of those terrifying fish-shaped molds your grandmother keeps in her cupboard. So no real surprises there.
But if you really want to see dancing chickens, watch what happens in the 5th Congressional District.
Emanuel will want someone to sit still and keep the eggs warm until he's ready to reclaim his nest. And here's my question.
Are they chickens, or are they just dancers?
I'm sorry, too - but it had to be done, don't you think (and trust me when I tell you I found the shortest, best one!)?
I guess only time will tell for these Chicago-style politicians - both in IL and in DC...