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I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Corruption in the Land of Lincoln: Obama’s Reformist Image Tarnished

From left: Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama and Richard M. Daley. Photo credits: John Gress/Reuters

Google the name of any major operative from the Obama campaign now serving on his transition team with the phrase, “Daley machine politics in Chicago,” and you’ll see that Obama’s carefully crafted reformist image was already tainted by the city he calls home before the indictment this week of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. I can name three members of Obama’s inner circle right off the top of my head who have long-time Daley connections: Michele Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and David Axelrod.

Last March, Ben Joravsky wrote in the Washington Independent: “Obama settled in Chicago a couple of years after {Mayor Harold} Washington died and this is the political universe he knows. His wife, Michelle Obama, used to work for the Daley administration. His campaign strategist, David Axelrod, ran some of Daley’s campaigns. Many of Obama’s closest advisers, like Valerie B. Jarrett, are Daley appointees and insiders — it would be hard to find big players in Chicago who aren’t. And last year, Obama mustered his oratorical powers to endorse Daley with a speech so reverential it made some of the senator’s fans cringe in embarrassment.”

Obama’s ties to the old politics of Chicago were never fully vetted by the media who continue to be under his spell. So it’s in the category of better late than never that Time Magazine’s Massimo Calabresi actually raises an eyebrow over the latest revelation of corruption in the Land of Lincoln.

Calabresi writes:

“On more than one occasion during his stunning press conference Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald bluntly said he has found no evidence of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama in the tangled, tawdry scheme that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich allegedly cooked up to sell Obama's now vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. But for politicians it's never good news when a top-notch prosecutor has to go out of his way to distance you from a front-page scandal. And indeed, there are enough connections between the worlds of Blagojevich and Obama that the whole thing has the potential to grow beyond a colorful Chicago tale of corruption to entangle members of the Presidential transition team, to test Obama's carefully cultivated reformist image and to distract the President-elect just as he is preparing to take office.”

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1 comment:

  1. I have lost any objectivity regarding Senator Obama. If I had any, if was fleeting and then gone. This news about Illinois corruption holds no surprises for me, and the media has fallen short in their obligations/responsibility to properly vet Senator Obama for the job of President. Obama is not known as a scholar, has practically no resume other than walking the streets of south-side Chicago with a cigarette hanging from his mouth, and expects to sit in the Oval office and garner respect? I think not. At least not from this corner of the world. I grew up in Illinois, and as far back as I can remember, this was the story coming out of Chicago and Springfield ~ corruption in a grand scale. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but I have to say, this does not reflect well on Mr. Obama. He met with Governer Blago the day after the election, and yet claims he had not been in contact. He parses words, and is becoming a master at it. His statements are coming back to haunt him; either his memory is really poor, or he just doesn't give much thought to speaking the truth. Whichever, he is not a man I could ever respect, regardless of how deep into this corruption scandal he may or may not be. I say pass the popcorn, this will only get better. Unfortunately, this great country needs a leader at this time, not a leader wannabe. Thank you Virginia for this informative post. It is something for all of us to watch carefully and follow in the coming days and weeks! Oh, probably years!

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