Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Barack Obama (D-Daley)

Barack Obama endorsed Mayor Richard M. Daley on Monday, saying among other things that the city had made great strides in overcoming corruption. Forgive Obama, he hasn't been in the state much since being elected senator.

Just where does Obama see improvement? Daley is now finishing his worst term since the one in which more than 700 people died in the 1995 heat wave that he so badly mismanaged. Perhaps Obama hasn't heard of the Hired Truck Scandal, or that Robert Sorich, the mayor's former patronage chief, is on his way to jail. And that's just the top of the shitpile; there are also the revelations of Daley's extensive patronage machine; stalled efforts at CPS and CHA; a CTA that is literally running off the rails; soaring property taxes; and the stain of that pesky Burge Report, whose whitewashing managed in reverse to make the mayor look guilty.

Now, to be sure, Obama's endorsement had very little to do with Daley's re-election campaign (except to help satisfy the mayor's thirst to positively crush his opponents and critics), but everything to do with Obama's presidential campaign.

And that's what's troubling.

For all his talk of representing a new kind of politics, Obama's every move smacks of business-as-usual. It's not just that his endorsement of Daley - just days after Hillary Clinton announced she was joining the race - sends a message to the city's big money people and other players still on the fence that there will a price to pay in mayoral vengeance should they side with Clinton over Obama.

It's that it puts to rest any doubt that Obama is anything but at the center of the same old machine, the same old fundraisers, the same old tactics, and, in the end, the same old cynical political calculations.

Obama has now endorsed Richard M. Daley, Todd Stroger, Alexi Giannoulias, and, just to be clear about all that against-the-war-from-the-beginning talk, Joe Lieberman. He made a real estate deal with Tony Rezko, and now is trying to tap Carl McCall, the former New York comptroller whose fingerprints are all over the Stuart Levine pension fund scandal. His advisors include Bill Daley and the telecom lobby.

So just what kind of new politics does Obama represent? Better manners?


It didn't appear in the print version of the Sun-Times article, but the paper's original Web report about Obama's endorsement of the Daley included this anecdote of Obama trying to weasel out of some fairly innocuous comments he made about the mayor in 2005.

"In August 2005," Fran Spielman wrote, "Obama nearly ran into trouble with Daley when he hedged on whether he'd support the mayor for re-election in light of the corruption investigations at City Hall.

"Asked then if he planned to support the mayor or if the corruption probes might have given him pause, the senator replied, 'What's happened - some of the reports I've seen in your newspaper, I think, give me huge pause.'

'An hour later, he called the Sun-Times saying he wanted to clarify his remarks. Obama said the mayor was 'obviously going through a rough patch right now.' But he also said Chicago has 'never looked better' and that 'significant progress has been made on a variety of fronts.' The senator said then it was 'way premature' to talk about endorsements because the mayor had not yet announced his candidacy.

"Daley didn't hold a grudge against Obama. He reportedly concluded that the freshman senator had been trapped by a loaded question."

Yes. Asking if the corruption surrounding the mayor gave him pause certainly is loaded.

Barack Obama: A kinder, gentler old politics.


"I don't understand how Sen. Obama could look at this administration and see a cleaner government," challenger Dorothy Brown said.

That's because you're not supposed to look at this administration head-on, you're just supposed to kind of glance at it from the side and then turn away really quickly and get back to admiring the flowers.


"Obama also endorsed Daley's running mates, whom he described as old friends," Spielman reports. "They are City Clerk Miguel del Valle and Treasurer Stephanie Neely."

Obama also shares a media advisor with Daley in David Axelrod. And Obama's wife, Michelle, used to work for the mayor.

Barack Obama (D-Daley).


Do you think Obama encouraged Daley to debate his opponents for the first time in his mayoralty?


Do you think Obama, who has been a Wal-Mart critic, asked the mayor about calling proponents of the big-box ordinance racists?


"Mayoral challenger Dorothy Brown said Obama's endorsement of Daley flies in the face of remarks the senator made about corrupt politicians during a fiery Martin Luther King Day speech in Harvey," Spielman reported.

But just what did Obama say?

From the Daily Southtown:

"There are a lot things Harvey needs," Obama said. "Some folks here in city hall think that maybe the office that they possess is because they are so special, it is supposed to be a place where they can help their family and their friends instead of helping the people who elected them."

Gee, whose administration does that sound like?

Beyond that, Obama's Harvey appearance raised questions - again - about his choice of political friends.


See also "The Trouble With Obama."


Cross-posted at The Beachwood Reporter.


Anonymous,  5:07 PM  

A little exagerrated Steve. I just took the redline from downtown to Chinatown in about 15 minutes....literelly, not falling off the rails.
Secondly, Robert Sorich is not in jail. Patronage has been around since ancient Rome and exists in every major bureacracy.
Perhaps, Candidates Brown, Walls, and those who come in the future should spend less time worrying about Daley and more time projecting ways they can improve Chicago.

Pat Hickey 5:27 PM  

Hey, Steve, Long time no see! Love The Beachwood.

Daley'll be OK, no worries; Obama even better.

The thing with local government is services and they seem to be getting delivered. Certainly not to the likeing of really smart folks, but C students make the world go round, as they say.

Daley, much to the ironic gag of the really smart folks has, in fact down-sized the once powerful juggernaut of patronage armies and has out-sourced so many once good government jobs ( again according to Hoyle and Shakman) that in years to come Chicago will operate under good government standards that the bright folks who live in Evanston and points North whine for and then -hold the phone!

Cops and fireman will live outside of the City - workers the same & etc. and then the brighter than us folks will start howling about the condition of A,B,C,D, & F and Dick Simpson will dictate op-ed pieces about how 'the old ways really did provide a better quality of life.'

Brave New World awaits! Have faith.

Bill Baar 7:49 PM  

Well Pat, I wish the Senator would knock off the fatherhood frame.

My wife -who likes him and cried over some parts in his first book- heard this line on the radio alarm as we woke up the day after Bear's win,

...not just for African Americans, but for all Americans to see men like that who are good fathers, who are good leaders, who do things the right way succeed. That's a good lesson for all of us."

She started grumbling about who's the idiot talking about Coaches and Fatherhood... I don't need people talking like this about Football coaches..etc etc and then I told her it was Obama. Oh man....

My wife is in charge of our Family's values and she really balks when Pols start talking like this. She cynical enough to think some terrible parents can be good leaders. Good parenting skills are not a litmus test for her, and inturn she resents Pols suggesting holding up role models for us.

Obama may have lost a vote to Hillary that AM.

Pat Hickey 8:00 PM  


True enough and your wife might well resent the rhetorical nonsense and good for her.

A simple Go Bears! would suffice, but these public people get so used to delivering sound bytes it becomes second nature -unlike the messy reality of parenting which requires a bit more quotidian attention to the smaller details.

I was taking a break from my editing -I have written a novel and getting the final stuff ready for the 'close readers' Always a genuine pleasure to chat with a real gentleman, Bill. Now, back tothe action packed world of tense and sense.
Keep 'em honest, Bill!

Steve Rhodes 8:39 PM  

"on the way to jail." correction made.

Re: fathering. wonder how that sound bite squares with michelle obama saying to barack that she never thought she'd have to raise their kids by herself because he was never around . . . "it's always about you" i think her quote was.

only relevant if obama and friends use the family man frame.

Pat Hickey 8:46 PM  

Salient point indeed, Steve. The Public Man's private torments get very public. God bless Michele and the kids, because the world;s having at them.

fedup dem,  10:18 PM  

You should post your comments over at the Daily Kos, where all to many of these bloggers think Obama can walk on water. They haven't a clue as to what his ties to Daley & Co. can do to his campaign for President. I guarantee you that Sen. Clinton knows, and knows what to do.

47th Ward,  11:20 PM  

I'm an Obama fan, and a big fan of the Beachwood Reporter. Steve is dead-on right about how actual journalists should be covering Obama and framing this story. Comparing actual facts against rhetoric instead of making up facts and injecting rhetoric, that's how it's supposed to be done by reporters, but for lots of reasons usually isn't. And in the recent Insight Magazine/Fox News slander (reckless disregard for the truth), you see the worst in reporting.

If you read Chicago newspapers and don't follow, you're missing most of the story.

Anonymous,  12:13 AM  

I hope Obama doesn't agree with Pat Hickey about the Burge torture over 200 victims. Electruting testicles. Suffocating.
sick sh-t

Even Daley apologized and said it was shameful

Pat Hickey 8:44 AM  

You mean Hickey, the Federal Prosecutor and the U.S. Supreme Court ( three times now) that most of Flint's case is the fabrication of thugs and Commie journalist like Shelly Abramsky ' Let's see Burge was in Vietnam, Viet Nam is Bad, might have learned torture techniques there! Yeah! that's the ticket! Burge ( an enlisted man) was Mr. Torture and he looks Irish Everyone hates the Irish! Yeah Burge is Irish!' Dopes - he's Dutch.
Then use lefty racial profiling code like 'close-knit, clannish ethnics, honor-bound to silence' -that means white-boy cover up. These deep-digging writers couldn't find nails at Menards.

Saying so don't make it so, no matter how loud or how long ( Byrne Washington, Orr, Sawyer that's alot of Mayors and you smart guys know that Mayors control everything - but case against Burge or anyone else). If they had a case they would have tossed Burge twenty years ago. Sorry, Sally, that Lotto Ticket's expired.

You are doing a very effective job of giving the cop killers' lawyers free advertising and that must be a good thing

JB Powers 10:21 AM  

"Chicago will operate under good government standards that the bright folks who live in Evanston...whine for"

Since when has Evanston had good government? Living their for 12 years, I can assure you that the Annointed City is blessed with the same crooks, swindlers, and louts that populate any government enterprise.

Dick Devine's office was charmed that employees of the City of Good Government were out campaigning for a subsidized housing tax on city time last November, passing out City printed pamphlets praising increased taxes.


Pat Hickey 10:28 AM  

Mea Culp, Brother Powers, Mea Culps; forgive my provincial quirks - I associate Evanston with the Commie brain-trusts at Medill School of Journalism and The Northwestern Law Childrens and Ex- Felons Harbor - home of mad bomber and beau coup rich radical Bernadine Dohrn-Ayers et al.

Evanston is nice but way too rowdy for this quiet, contemplative old bird.

Patrick McDonough 7:20 PM  

I wish John Daley would have run for Mayor of Chicago, he is soooo handsome. Well with Daley, we will have the mob, clout, white collar crime (blacks not cut in), higher taxes, more non-union services, more labor strife, and lots to talk about. A racist said to me , "At least Daley is sending them into the suburbs". And the lakefront will be "White-washed".

Anonymous,  7:50 PM  

Obama isn't running for mayor, he's running for president.

Anonymous,  3:25 PM  

Obama endorsing Todd Stroger and Alexi G is not exactly a different kind of politics or not being politics as usual.
It is actually kind of the same politics of race, political payback, money, and partisanship over principle.
Obama is fairly typical just more articulate and better looking.

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