Sunday, November 05, 2006

Obama and the Chicago political machine.

Politics: Nothing shocking about this considering no one gets elected until you play ball with the Chicago politicians that dictate who goes where and at what time.

It would have been one thing if Barack Obama had given Todd Stroger a one-armed hug. But a wet sloppy kiss? This past week Senators Obama and Dick Durbin signed a letter endorsing the candidacy of young Todd so that he might follow in his father's footsteps and become the next president of the Cook County Board. This has been one of the sadder sagas in Chicago political history. And Obama, America's audacious knight in shining armor, deprives us of the very hope he likes to talk about in his speeches and his books. I don't mean to let Durbin off the hook but, frankly, I expected him to endorse the "regular" in this race. But Obama has allowed us to believe that he is different somehow. A new voice, a new frontier. Instead, he's traveled down the same dingy path that promotes the outright mediocrity and questionable competence that has given Chicago politics the reputation it richly deserves. Obama can call young Todd "a good progressive Democrat" if he wants. But any conviction that Stroger will "lead" us somewhere worth going is quite a stretch, and Obama knows it.
If Obama wants to endorse Todd Stroger in the race against Republican Tony Peraica, he should be a lot more candid about why. It's not because of Stroger's "progressive" politics. It's not because the Stroger family supported his past primary races for Congress or U.S. Senate. They didn't. It's because Obama isn't going to cross Daley Democrats or the African-American community that handed him his lunch in his loss against Rush six years ago. But Obama is not audacious enough to tell us that.

Speaking of the machine, Obama also is caught up with an indicted political fundraiser.

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