A Chicago Operation from Top to Bottom

It's not making news because after all, reporting on the messiah's mixed race upbringing and sterling oratory makes for so much better copy.

But someone, someday in the major media is going to wake up and take a good long look at Barack Obama's campaign and notice something very strange; it is staffed from top to bottom with Chicagoans who have mostly made their bones working for Mayor Richard Daley and the Chicago Machine.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama's campaign is being run out of Chicago. He recently moved most of the Democratic National Committee functions to the Windy City and his campaign headquarters is there as well.

The question the press might want to ask would be is there anything being "run" in Chicago that doesn't have Mayor Daley's fingerprints all over it?

Is Barack Obama Daley's man?

Seth Gittel in the New York Sun:

While the convention will be held in Denver it will give off the greatest Chicago cast since 1996, when Mayor Daley hosted the convention that nominated President Clinton for his second term. The June decision to place operations of the Democratic National Committee in Chicago together with Mr. Obama's headquarters reinforces the Windy City's dominance of Democratic politics. The big question is whether American voters will notice.

Mr. Obama has run successfully as a candidate of reform. A former community organizer, he fills his rhetoric with references to "a new and better day" and the omnipresent imperative of "change." In South Carolina last January Mr. Obama said, "we're looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington."

For the junior Illinois senator, change in Washington is a requirement. But that does not seem to be the case for Chicago, as it seems from Mr. Obama's support for Chicago's mayor who has been in power since 1989. Mr. Obama announced his support of the mayor's reelection effort in January 2007 after Mr. Daley, endorsed him for president in 2006.

[snip]

The reality is that without Mr. Daley's backing, Mr. Obama would be running a very different kind of campaign. Part of the tactical genius for Mr. Obama's campaign has been provided by his campaign consultant, David Axelrod, who also is a longtime operative in Mr. Daley's operation.

A columnist with the Chicago Tribune, John Kass, explained the arrangement in an interview with CNN: "Richard M. Daley is the boss of [the] Chicago Machine. His spokesman was David Axelrod. Their candidate is Barack Obama. Who speaks for Barack Obama? David Axelrod. There's no such thing as coincidences. Chicago politics doesn't have coincidences."

As far as coincidences go, there's also the woman Newsweek described as the campaign's "insider-outsider, a trusted friend who can give them a view from beyond the confines of the campaign bubble," Valerie Jarrett. Ms. Jarrett served as the planning and development commissioner for Mayor Daley during the 1990s. Today, in addition to being a confidante of Mr. Obama and his wife, she's also the chief executive of Habitat Co., which has drawn scrutiny for managing uninhabitable affordable housing, such as the Grove Parc Plaza complex.

It is amazing to those of us who have followed Chicago politics for any length of time that Axelrod's close connections to Daley are not a part of the story of this campaign. It's not that this fact is rarely mentioned. It is that it is NEVER mentioned! Axelrod knows full well the stink that emanates from City Hall could tarnish Obama's Mr. Clean reputation - a rep that has been created out of whole cloth given Obama's own connections and pandering to the Machine when it would benefit his career. His endorsement last year of Daley (along with most of the corrupt Cook County slate of candidates) shows just how serious Mr. Obama is about "change." In short, he's perfectly willing to change you but when it comes to changing Chicago, the candidate is a weak sister.

The inclusion of Ms. Jarrett in Gittel's analysis is surprising. She is the invisible woman of the campaign and, as her resume indicates, is a bridge between Obama and some of the Machine's moving parts. Her stint on the Planning Commission - one of the most powerful jobs in the city - coincides with Michelle Obama's service on the same board. They also served together on another powerful board, the Landmarks Commission (try to build almost anything or anywhere in the city without the approval of the Landmarks Commission and you run into big problems).

Anyone asking the question how a little known state senator who has served less than half a term as a US Senator could be the Democratic nominee for president only need look at Obama's friends in very high places in Chicago. This is the story of the campaign. It's a shame everyone is missing it.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky
It's not making news because after all, reporting on the messiah's mixed race upbringing and sterling oratory makes for so much better copy.

But someone, someday in the major media is going to wake up and take a good long look at Barack Obama's campaign and notice something very strange; it is staffed from top to bottom with Chicagoans who have mostly made their bones working for Mayor Richard Daley and the Chicago Machine.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama's campaign is being run out of Chicago. He recently moved most of the Democratic National Committee functions to the Windy City and his campaign headquarters is there as well.

The question the press might want to ask would be is there anything being "run" in Chicago that doesn't have Mayor Daley's fingerprints all over it?

Is Barack Obama Daley's man?

Seth Gittel in the New York Sun:

While the convention will be held in Denver it will give off the greatest Chicago cast since 1996, when Mayor Daley hosted the convention that nominated President Clinton for his second term. The June decision to place operations of the Democratic National Committee in Chicago together with Mr. Obama's headquarters reinforces the Windy City's dominance of Democratic politics. The big question is whether American voters will notice.

Mr. Obama has run successfully as a candidate of reform. A former community organizer, he fills his rhetoric with references to "a new and better day" and the omnipresent imperative of "change." In South Carolina last January Mr. Obama said, "we're looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington."

For the junior Illinois senator, change in Washington is a requirement. But that does not seem to be the case for Chicago, as it seems from Mr. Obama's support for Chicago's mayor who has been in power since 1989. Mr. Obama announced his support of the mayor's reelection effort in January 2007 after Mr. Daley, endorsed him for president in 2006.

[snip]

The reality is that without Mr. Daley's backing, Mr. Obama would be running a very different kind of campaign. Part of the tactical genius for Mr. Obama's campaign has been provided by his campaign consultant, David Axelrod, who also is a longtime operative in Mr. Daley's operation.

A columnist with the Chicago Tribune, John Kass, explained the arrangement in an interview with CNN: "Richard M. Daley is the boss of [the] Chicago Machine. His spokesman was David Axelrod. Their candidate is Barack Obama. Who speaks for Barack Obama? David Axelrod. There's no such thing as coincidences. Chicago politics doesn't have coincidences."

As far as coincidences go, there's also the woman Newsweek described as the campaign's "insider-outsider, a trusted friend who can give them a view from beyond the confines of the campaign bubble," Valerie Jarrett. Ms. Jarrett served as the planning and development commissioner for Mayor Daley during the 1990s. Today, in addition to being a confidante of Mr. Obama and his wife, she's also the chief executive of Habitat Co., which has drawn scrutiny for managing uninhabitable affordable housing, such as the Grove Parc Plaza complex.

It is amazing to those of us who have followed Chicago politics for any length of time that Axelrod's close connections to Daley are not a part of the story of this campaign. It's not that this fact is rarely mentioned. It is that it is NEVER mentioned! Axelrod knows full well the stink that emanates from City Hall could tarnish Obama's Mr. Clean reputation - a rep that has been created out of whole cloth given Obama's own connections and pandering to the Machine when it would benefit his career. His endorsement last year of Daley (along with most of the corrupt Cook County slate of candidates) shows just how serious Mr. Obama is about "change." In short, he's perfectly willing to change you but when it comes to changing Chicago, the candidate is a weak sister.

The inclusion of Ms. Jarrett in Gittel's analysis is surprising. She is the invisible woman of the campaign and, as her resume indicates, is a bridge between Obama and some of the Machine's moving parts. Her stint on the Planning Commission - one of the most powerful jobs in the city - coincides with Michelle Obama's service on the same board. They also served together on another powerful board, the Landmarks Commission (try to build almost anything or anywhere in the city without the approval of the Landmarks Commission and you run into big problems).

Anyone asking the question how a little known state senator who has served less than half a term as a US Senator could be the Democratic nominee for president only need look at Obama's friends in very high places in Chicago. This is the story of the campaign. It's a shame everyone is missing it.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky