In Obama White House, nepotism is alive and well

Barack Obama's administration is looking more and more like the Chicago Machine all the time. Threatening, bullying, rewarding allies with sweetheart deals, "pay to play" schemes and political hard ball have been on display as the country is waking up to the fact that the way the game is played in the windy city has migrated east to the Potomac.

Now another aspect of this symbiosis is coming to light with this story by Jonathan Martin in Politico that points to simple nepotism - another Chicago machine staple - as a means for Obama to reward those prominent Democrats who were early or important supporters by hiring their relations:

They're well-known names in Democratic politics - Kerry, Clyburn, Hamilton, Gregoire, Mikva and Emanuel - but have received little attention because they're not taking jobs in the senior-most ranks of the government. They are:

• Cameron Kerry, the brother of an early Obama backer, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who has been tapped as chief counsel at the Commerce Department.

• Mignon Clyburn, daughter of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who received a coveted appointment to the Federal Communications Commission

• David Hamilton, nephew of former congressman and Democratic elder statesman Lee Hamilton, who was appointed to an appellate judgeship

• Courtney Gregoire, daughter of Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, who last week was tapped as director of legislative affairs at Commerce

• Laurie Mikva, daughter of legendary former Chicago judge and Congressman Abner Mikva, who was appointed to the board of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to low-income people

• And Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who is a special adviser on health care to OMB Director Peter Orszag.

Mikva has long standing Chicago ties and during the campaign,  spoke glowingly of Obama's commitment to the safety and security of Israel.

Yep...welcome to Chicago politics. Lee Hamilton has become one of the closest foreign policy advisers to Barack Obama and the number one adviser regarding Iran, according to David Ignatius, the foreign affairs columnist of the Washington Post . Hamilton vouched for Obama during the campaign, too.

I gues it is all about paying back favors to people who shill - as any good Chicago Machine pol would do.

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