Posted on December 10, 2008
The Chicago Tribune declared bankruptcy on the day of perhaps the biggest national news story to hit Chicago since Al Capone. Talk about bad timing.
People are now learning about the Chicago way. Don’t get me wrong. Chicago is the greatest city in the country. It has a beautiful lakefront, wonderful architecture, great people, outstanding pizza, world-class museums, fantastic restaurants, great sports teams, a thriving theater district, and one of the world’s top orchestras.
It also has lousy weather in the winter, terrible crime in certain areas, a failing school system, one of the highest municipal tax rates in the country and some of the most corrupt politicians in the world.
When Barack Obama was running for President, people chose to look at the good side of Chicago. Now that he is our President-elect, they are starting to learn about the bad side of Chicago.
Barack Obama promised to be different kind of politician, and he campaigned as a centrist. But centrists don’t survive in Chicago unless they make peace with the political kingpins who make up the elite. Obama made peace with these power brokers after getting his head handed to him when he ran against Bobby Rush a decade ago.
As Jeremiah Wright would say, the chickens are coming home to roost when it comes to Obama’s past. As I repeatedly wrote in this blog, and other have pointed out, Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko was deep and troubling. Now, we know how deep the relationship was with Rod Blagojevich, and how corrupt it was. Why do so many journalists take Obama’s word for it that he says was innocent of any kind of corrupt activities when it came to Rezko, when Rezko was essentially a corruption broker?
Obama has done to Blagojevich what he did to both Wright and Rezko. He threw him under the bus. He denied that he talked to him after the election (a fairly dangerous assertion), and he called on him to resign. But will this give him enough distance from the epicenter of sleazy political corruption that makes up the heart of Chicago politics?
Obama might very well be completely innocent of all guilt when it comes to Chicago politics. He might be a babe in the woods. He might be the political equivalent of Sergeant Schultz (I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing), but ignorance is not going to be bliss when it comes to this scandal.
Most people voted for Barack Obama hoping for the best, but not really knowing much about him, his past or his plans for the future. This scandal will be devastating for the Obama Administration unless he gets out in front of this train, takes every question from every Chicago reporter (they are tougher than DC reporters), and comes clean with everything he knows about his home state.
Chicago is a great city when it comes to art, culture, sports, cuisine, and architecture, but it is infamous for its politics. Obama is not bringing pizza to Chicago; he is bringing his political acumen. Let’s hope he comes clean before he becomes President.