PrestoPundit

WHO IS BARACK OBAMA?

Posted by PrestoPundit on 05/10/2008

A diagnosis using clips from a NY Times story on Obama’s Chicago years.  Via No Quarter.  Read also John Kass’s article on Obama and The Chicago Way.  Worth quoting at length:

“I know there are those like John Kass who would
like me to decry Chicago politics more frequently, and I’ll leave that
to his editorial commentary,” Obama said.

Not the politics, just the corruption, I said then, wishing silently
that he had decried it all, that he’d stood up years ago and pointed to
the list of sleazy deals, pointed an angry finger at the Duffs, the
white, Outfit-connected drinking buddies of Daley who received $100
million in affirmative action contracts through City Hall ..

Obama had nothing to do with the Duff deal. But he kept mum. He has
endorsed Daley, endorsed Daley’s hapless stooge Todd Stroger for
president of the Cook County Board. These are not the acts of a
reformer, but of a guy who, as we say in Chicago, won’t make no waves
and won’t back no losers.

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) ..

As a candidate, Obama will do what he has to do to win. 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.

So why the disconnect? Why is Obama allowed to campaign as a
reformer, virtually unchallenged by the media, though he’s a product of
Chicago politics and has never condemned the wholesale political
corruption in his home town the way he condemns those darn Washington
lobbyists.

For an answer as to when pundits will ever put Illinois corruption
in context, I called on Tom Bevan, executive director of the popular
political Web site Real Clear Politics (which directs readers to my
column on occasion) and a Chicagoan.

“To a large degree, the media has accepted much of the Obama
narrative thus far,” Bevan told me. “He’s risen so quickly, but his
history hasn’t been bogged down with an association of Chicago politics
and I can’t tell you why exactly, except perhaps that some may have
bought into the established narrative and can’t separate themselves
from it.”

“And I don’t know if the country understands just how corrupt the
system is in Illinois. People don’t see it. They’re flying over us,
cruising at 30,000 feet,” Bevan said.

What’s so stupid about all this is that these questions have such easy answers.  It’s as if Kass is stuck in a George Orwell novel — or the Soviet Union — and can’t publicly print the answers everyone knows, but no journalist dares speak.  Pathetic.

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