Obama has become a great actor as well. He, too, has negatives, but these, including Rezko's prominent role in his political development, are downplayed by the national media, perhaps because the facts don't jibe with their fairy tale. They've spent great energy building Barack as the anti-Hillary Clinton who will transcend politics as we know it, and now they're wedded to their honeyed narrative.You can take the politician out of Chicago but you can't take the Chicago out of the politician.
(Yes, there is that other fellow in the Democratic presidential race, the man with the Pretty Pony hair. The Clintons will push him aside and tap Obama as the vice presidential nominee for the votes Obama will bring them.)
Nationally, Obama is Senator Ethics. But he's had his ticket punched by Chicago's City Hall.
And often missing from the Obama puffery is any acknowledgment that despite the rhetoric, Obama is all but a frontman for Mayor Richard Daley's Chicago Democratic political machine.
He has backed Daley for re-election, with City Hall awash in federal investigations, and he's got the mayor's media strategist David Axelrod massaging his message. Obama has supported other machine creatures, including his endorsement of the hapless Todd Stroger, for the Cook County Board presidency. During his years in the Illinois State Senate, Obama's mentor was another party boss, state Sen. Emil Jones (D-ComEd). And Jones still snaps to attention whenever the real governor of Illinois, state Sen. James DeLeo (D-How You Dooin'), calls on the phone. He knows Obama too.
I don't know what Washington political writers call it. But back home, this is what we call transcending politics the Chicago Way.
This week, the Chicago Sun-Times published a story about Obama writing letters to city and state officials on behalf of Rezko, so Rezko could receive more than $14 million in taxpayer funds to develop senior citizen housing.
This included $885,000 in development fees for Rezko and partner Allison Davis, Obama's former boss. The paper didn't include the fact that Davis is also a buddy of Daley's. The Sun-Times did note that Obama insisted to the Tribune last year that in all the years he has known Rezko, "I've never done any favors for him."
No favors? When you transcend politics and walk on water, I guess it all depends on what your definition of favor is.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
John Kass reports:
Posted by Steve Bartin at 4:38 PM