Pay no attention to the Chicago Machine behind the curtain

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass comes from a long line of Windy City journalists who have spent their careers exposing the rot and corruption of The Machine.

But this campaign season, Kass and other Chicago journalists are finding it incredibly difficult to inject a little truth into the left wing media's narrative of Obama's pristine rise in Chicago politics, unsullied by any contact with the Daley political appartatus that dominates the city.

The facts, as Kass points out today in this brilliant column, are a little different:

It is all about context. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet he is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission. It is all so very mystical.

Perhaps viewing Obama as a Chicago political creature would conflict with the established national media narrative of Obama as a reformer. Actually, there's no "perhaps" about it.

"I think I have done a good job in rising politically in this environment without being entangled in some of the traditional problems of Chicago politics," Obama told reporters and editors at a Tribune editorial board meeting several weeks ago.

Yes, an excellent job. Except for his dalliance with his indicted real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, a relationship Obama considers a mistake, the senator has not played the fly to Mayor Richard Daley's spider. Almost, but not quite.

"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.


It's not that Obama hasn't had his opportunities to stand up and be counted among the reformers. He has been asked to endorse reform candidates in the past only to bow to Daley's will and speak on behalf of some sleazy alderman or another:

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)
Kass asked RealClearPolitics Tom Bevan why this disconnect is so pronounced - why is Obama getting a pass on his Chicago connections?

"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.

Meanwhile, Kass and other Chicago journalists will keep trying to make themselves heard above the din of encomiums in order to expose the truth about Obama's playing footsie with Daley and the The Machine. It shouldn't disqualify him from being president. But it is certainly a part of his political career that has been ignored, glossed over, even lied about by the press and the campaign.
Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass comes from a long line of Windy City journalists who have spent their careers exposing the rot and corruption of The Machine.

But this campaign season, Kass and other Chicago journalists are finding it incredibly difficult to inject a little truth into the left wing media's narrative of Obama's pristine rise in Chicago politics, unsullied by any contact with the Daley political appartatus that dominates the city.

The facts, as Kass points out today in this brilliant column, are a little different:

It is all about context. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet he is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission. It is all so very mystical.

Perhaps viewing Obama as a Chicago political creature would conflict with the established national media narrative of Obama as a reformer. Actually, there's no "perhaps" about it.

"I think I have done a good job in rising politically in this environment without being entangled in some of the traditional problems of Chicago politics," Obama told reporters and editors at a Tribune editorial board meeting several weeks ago.

Yes, an excellent job. Except for his dalliance with his indicted real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, a relationship Obama considers a mistake, the senator has not played the fly to Mayor Richard Daley's spider. Almost, but not quite.

"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.


It's not that Obama hasn't had his opportunities to stand up and be counted among the reformers. He has been asked to endorse reform candidates in the past only to bow to Daley's will and speak on behalf of some sleazy alderman or another:

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)
Kass asked RealClearPolitics Tom Bevan why this disconnect is so pronounced - why is Obama getting a pass on his Chicago connections?

"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.

Meanwhile, Kass and other Chicago journalists will keep trying to make themselves heard above the din of encomiums in order to expose the truth about Obama's playing footsie with Daley and the The Machine. It shouldn't disqualify him from being president. But it is certainly a part of his political career that has been ignored, glossed over, even lied about by the press and the campaign.