Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dick Daley's favorite Hawaiian

Obama (on the left) with Chicago's Mayor Daley, son of Chicago's Mayor Daley, pictured in the "Urbs in Horto".

Obama the reformer is backed by Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Daley boys. He is spoken for by Daley's own spokesman, David Axelrod. He was launched into his U.S. Senate by machine power broker and state Senate President Emil Jones. John Kass - Chicago Tribune
David Seaton's News Links
Feeling lonely, I'd love to drink the Kool-Aid with y'all, but every time I try it my gag reflex kicks in. It's time to talk about Obama's most powerful patron, Chicago's "mayor for life", Richard M. Daily.

Pictured with Obama above, is Chicago's Mayor Daley, son of Chicago's Mayor Daley... for over 50 years father and son have run one of America's most powerful and corrupt political machines. I am originally from Chicago and like John Kass, I am amazed at the free pass a Chicago pol like Obama is getting by the besotted American media.

My mother was on the Cook County Council of the League of Women Voters in the 1950s, struggling with political reform; I get my views from those ancient overheard dinner table conversations. Everything I've read or heard over the years I've been away confirms that Chicago is still Chicago, that "toddling town, the town that Billy Sunday couldn't shut down"... AKA "da Chill".

Now, let's do nuances. Richard M. Daley is a very efficient mayor and good administrator as was his father, Richard J, but nobody in what is known as greater "Chicagoland", who calls themselves a "reformer", would want the endorsement of any Dick Daley. The term "Daley-Reformer" is an oxymoron (to distinguish it from ordinary morons).

And amazingly enough for a Chicago machine pol, there are millions of people out there who believe that Barack Obama will bring them "Change We Can Believe In". In fact there is nothing in Obama's record as a law maker that isn't pure "sweet home Chicago". Check this from the Boston Globe:
(Obama) worked with lobbyists as an Illinois legislator and US senator, even as he distances himself from them as a presidential candidate. The Republican National Committee sent out a press release Thursday, noting that a former lobbyist, Antill E. Trotter, held a fund-raiser for Obama that night in Washington. Trotter specialized in telecommunications, transportation, and environmental issues from 2000-2004. The RNC release also contained reminders of an ABC News report that Obama introduced nine bills to make certain chemicals tax-exempt at the request of some corporate lobbyists; and a Boston Globe report about Obama's work with an insurance lobbyist to make healthcare legislation more acceptable to insurance companies. Joan Vennochi - Boston Globe
Another thing that I find curious, as someone who spent his Chicago childhood freezing on windy street corners catching pneumonia (several times), is why anyone born in a certified paradise like Hawaii would want to live in Chicago. The minute I saw the Mediterranean, there was no way you could get me back to Chicago... In all these years, I've only been back to Chicago once... In actual fact, I would be in favor of returning Chicago to the Native-Americans.

Leaving Hawaii, Barack Obama went to college in New York and Boston, as a child in Chicago, those cities seemed as far off and sophisticated as Rome or Paris... Why would anyone in their right mind leave Hawaii, Boston or especially New York and go to Chicago?

My theory: Barack Obama conceived the notion of being President of the United States of America a long time ago and he is very impatient to fulfill what he believes to be his destiny. He is extraordinarily intelligent, crafty too, and a thinker and a planner.

He looked upon his skill set and saw that it was good. Thinking deeply he saw that he had a quality that was both an asset and a liability: he was a white man in a black skin. Why do I say that Obama is "white" when anyone in America with even a drop of African blood is called "black"? To call Obama "black" as if his mother counted for nothing, is racism, pure and simple.

Mothers define our culture and our tribe. We call the language we dream in our "mother tongue", the Halacha considers anyone born of Jewish mother a Jew, no matter who his father was. The examples are endless. Raised by a white mother and grandparents in a white home, attending white schools, Barack Obama is culturally white. Things have changed since Fats Waller wrote, "I'm white inside, But that don't help my case.'Cause I can't hide what is on my face." What once would have been a tragic and crippling liability can now be an asset if properly played.

There are quite a few white former editors of the Harvard Law Review, but Barack Obama is the first black one: being "black" has much to recommend it for a brilliant Harvard Lawyer... to be perfect Obama would have to also be a woman... But like Joe E. Brown says at the end of Billy Wilder's 'Some Like It Hot', "nobody's perfect."

His problem, his asset/liability, would be to fall between two stools, too white for blacks and too black for whites... A clear identity had to be constructed. He had to be black enough for blacks, but not too black for whites. He has done this brilliantly, right down to choosing his wife. Marrying what is probably his greatest asset, the lovely and brilliant Michelle Robinson is the "whitest" thing that Barack Obama has ever done.


Michelle Obama is an extraordinarily attractive woman, if she finally makes it to the White House, she will easily be the most attractive First Lady since Jackie Kennedy, but she has darker skin than Obama. Now, I have white, German, French, English and Spanish men friends who have all married beautiful African-African women from Africa: Senegalese, Nigerians, etc who are bluish black. but I cannot recall ever seeing a prosperous African-American man, whose wife's skin wasn't at least a tone lighter than his own.

So why Chicago?

What does Chicago have that so multiplies all of Barack Obama's assets and cancels his liabilities and takes decades off his journey to the pinnacles of power?

The Daley "machine", is what.

In what other city have the the political machine, the African-American community, the business community and
(subsidy hungry) cultural community been so deeply entwined and organized for so many years? Think Ceausescu's Romania, then add money and funk it up. A political career can be made or broken with a phone call.

Is Chicago that cynical?

I'm the last person to ask, Chicago is where I got my attitude.

The Clintons will never play this card, no matter how desperate they get, because no Democrat in his right mind would ever want to make an enemy of Dick Daley or any future Daleys, but
certainly, when and if Obama is finally the candidate, make no mistake, McCain and the Republican 527s are going to begin to dig into all this rich mother load. DS

John Kass: Obama magically unstained by grime of Chicago Way - Chicago Tribune
Abstract: Will Barack Obama's presidential candidacy serve his state and city by finally drawing national attention to the sleazy and corrupt politics of Illinois and Chicago? It is all about context. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet he is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission. It is all so very mystical. Perhaps viewing Obama as a Chicago political creature would conflict with the established national media narrative of Obama as a reformer. Actually, there's no "perhaps" about it.(...) Obama the reformer is backed by Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Daley boys. He is spoken for by Daley's own spokesman, David Axelrod. He was launched into his U.S. Senate by machine power broker and state Senate President Emil Jones (D-ComEd). (...) My argument is not with him—but with the national political media pack that refuses to look closely at what Chicago is. They're fixated on what it was, and they think it's clean now. And they've spent years crafting, then cleaving to their eager and trembling Obama narrative, a tale of great yearning, almost mythic and ardently adolescent, a tale in which Obama is portrayed as a reformer, a dynamic change agent about to do away with the old thuggish politics. It's as if Axelrod channeled it, wearing a peaked Merlin hat. Obama is a South Sider and does not hail from Camelot or Mt. Olympus or the lush forests of mythical Narnia. I've joked that reporters feel compelled to hug him, in their copy, as if he were the cuddly faun, the Mr. Tumnus of American politics. But I was only kidding. The real Mr. Tumnus never had Billy Daley or Ted Kennedy carving up Cabinet appointments. READ IT ALL


RC said...

That's the point exactly Dave. He had a plan. He needed a vehicle. He got one. I'm more concerned about what chessplayer-like schemes he has up his sleeve for the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis, Iraq, Iran.
I've never heard an Obama speech, never seen him on TV or the net. I have no interest in the Camelot script.
All the better that he had the smarts to attract the Bambi vote and get the Machine to grease the cogs.
This is going to be so much better than the embarrassing Bush years.
This guy is up against the Aziz Axis, the Chinese Juggernaut and the Russian Oil Mafia. He better be diabolical as hell.
So, what's the problem?

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

The problem is I think he's a fake.

RC said...

I feel that adds to the suspense, but I have no way of debating your viewpoint.

Kevin E. said...

I also think he's a fake, and I can't bear to listen to him speak those large empty cadences any more (really, I never could).

But I also believe in redemption. Although I think it unlikely, I think there's a possibility that the machine pol, having attained the pinnacle of power, will turn on the machine--smoothly, subtly, but that he will actually try to become an independent person who actually lives up to his promises.

Two problems with this scenario: 1) he did this with Rev. Wright, but I don't think he's strong enough to do it to Daley and Co. Look at the photograph of the two that David posted! Look at how he wilted in debates against Hillary!

2) This all reminds me so much of Preston Sturges' The Great McGinty! Which was inspired by stories of Chicago politics, appropriately enough. If you don't know it, a man in exactly Obama's position is made Mayor, then Governor of the state by the machine, and then thinks he has the power to do a good deed, actually live up to his oath of office, and betray the ones who put him there.

Of course they pull some things out of the file, put him in jail, and find a new figurehead. He ends up tending bar south of the border. The epigraph of the movie is, roughly "This is the story of a man who never did anything honest in his life, except for one crazy minute--and then he had to get out of the country."

Obama thinks his eloquence and charm can pull that off, and make him soar above his origins and foundational compromises; even if he wants that (and there are real questions whether he does or not), you'd need eloquence greater than Jesus, Gandhi, and Winston Churchill combined. Such eloquence for the good has never yet overcome a whole social system all by itself.

I mean, at least with Hillary, what you see is basically what you get--including Bill and Republican rage. And if the American press hates you, as they do her, that's a point in her favor as far as I'm concerned.


David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Great comment!!!

jhwmeasor said...

Obama friend, fundraiser on trial for corruption in US
AFP. Mon May 12, 12:49 PM

CHICAGO (AFP) - A long-time friend and fundraiser of presidential hopeful Barack Obama was accused by prosecutors Monday of using his political clout to demand kickbacks, win government contracts and place associates in key state jobs.

While Obama is not accused of any wrongdoing and has subsequently donated all the money raised by alleged influence-peddler Antoin "Tony" Rezko to charity, prosecutors have said that some of the kickbacks ended up in the Illinois Democratic senator's campaign coffers.

Obama is also under fire for entering a land deal with Rezko in 2005 when it was widely known that the real estate developer was under federal scrutiny, something Obama later called a "boneheaded" move.

The Rezko dealings have dogged Obama as he vies for the Democratic presidential nomination but have not yet had a major impact on his campaign.

That could change if Rezko is convicted of 24 counts of fraud, solicitation of bribery, attempted extortion and money laundering.

"This trial is about Tony Rezko's corrupt use of power and influence to benefit himself and his friends," prosecutor Reid Schar said in closing arguments.

Rezko was part of a larger scheme of corruption and pay-to-play politics in the state of Illinois where state jobs and lucrative contracts were traded for campaign contributions and hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, Schar said.

And Rezko, who was the second largest fundraiser and a key advisor to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, was pulling the strings, Schar told jurors.

"He can get anything done that he wants done," he said of Rezko.

"The defendant is a corrupt insider who schemed with corrupt insiders to benefit himself and his friends."

Rezko did not take the stand during the months-long trial and his defense team did not call any witnesses.

His lawyers have argued that Rezko's chief co-conspirator, Stuart Levine, Levine lied about his relationship with Rezko in order to first hold onto power and then to save his own skin when the FBI caught wind of his schemes.

Rezko has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Anonymous said...

Would a protégé of the Daley machine really be so much worse than one of the Bush machine, or one with close ties to the morass that is Arkansas politics, and if so why?

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Would a protégé of the Daley machine really be so much worse?
Well, probably not, except neither Bushes nor Clintons have ever sold themselves as the new Gandhi.

A Chicago pol, is a Chicago pol, is a Chicago pol. What gets me pissed off is this empty messiahnism from a Chicago pol.

Anonymous said...

When I look at how Chicago has faired compared to Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati and others, it seems like the Daley approach to government has quite a bit to recommend it.

Chicago may be a machine with a fair deal of corruption, but the wellbeing of the city does seem paramount.

I also know that old Mayor Daley never cheated on his wife, lived in a middle class or lower middle class bungalow, and died a relatively poor man. No political machine is blameless in the city of man, nor is any political system perfect; compared to otheres, old Mayor Daley looks darn good.

I'm sorry, I have to disagree. After the disgraces that were the Arkansas sleeze machine and the much worse Bush-big oil-military industrial complex machine, a machine from America's heartland that gets things done sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

And no, I do not think Obama will be perfect. Electing a president with a Muslim name will give the United States a lot of soft power to extricate itself from the mess that it is in, and also be a way of making symbolic amends.