Barack Obama is distancing himself from Tony Rezko, the Chicago developer under indictment. It looks a lot to me as though Obama played along with Rezko as would a creature inhabiting the Chicago political ecosystem. The problem is not that Obama was really in bed with him, but rather what it shows about the man. Mike Robinson of the AP cites a political insider focusing on the Obama brand.
Campaign consultant Chris Lehane, who worked in the Clinton White House and for Al Gore in 2000, said it shows voters that Obama "puts his pants on the same way as any other politician" - something that "undermines the core Obama brand, that he is a different kind of leader."
Rezko, a Syrian-born U.S. citizen who owned a real estate development business and a group of fast-food franchises, has spent his career showering Illinois officials with campaign money. He was a top fundraiser for Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Given the lofty rhetoric of fighting cyncism, Obama's pattern of pragmatically playing the political game seems rather hypocritical. A candidate so highly packaged that his advisors and insiders find it helpful to think of him in terms of brand management would seem to be the ultimate in cynicism.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky