Obama is clearly losing goodwill points every day that Blago-gate drags on. Now it appears that indeed Rahm Emanuel was in touch with Blago and aide Harris about the senate seat though no evidence yet of malfeasance on Emanuel’s part.
The stench of Chicago machine politics now clings to Obama like a cheap cologne.
It did not have to be this way.
Obama started out his career firmly in the reform anti-Daley machine wing of the Chicago Democratic Party. That’s what it meant to be an Alinsky-ite Community Organizer in black south side poor and working class neighborhoods in the 80s (where, by the way, he first got to know the powerful Balanoff family of Tom Balanoff aka “SEIU Official” – the flag pole contact in the Feds affidavit against Blagojevich).
That’s what it meant to fight the Mayor’s office and the powerful school board and the teachers union simultaneously in the push for a school reform bill in 1988 which Obama did alongside his pal Bill Ayers. And Obama did that in opposition to mainstream black organizations like Operation PUSH and The Woodlawn Organization.
That’s what it meant to join again with Ayers in securing and then spending $160 million on education reform AGAINST the desires of Mayor Daley in what were called the Chicago School Wars. That’s what it meant to hold his initial campaign event in the home of his “family friends” Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. That’s what it meant to step into the shoes of outgoing state rep. and fellow traveler Alice Palmer.
In fact, that’s what it meant if your aspiration in political life, as it was for Obama, was to depose Richard Daley Jr. inspired by Obama’s hero, Harold Washington, the first black mayor of the city who died in office while Obama was a community organizer.
But at some point in the late 90s or so, Obama realized he had higher ambitions and perhaps becoming Chicago Mayor was not enough. At that point he began to establish relationships with the Chicago mainstream, including key business figures like Penny Pritzker and he even began cozying up to the Daley machine itself. These would prove critical in his rise to national prominence
And now he is stuck with them. Instead of taking advantage of his new national ties to the Kennedy family or VP-elect Joe Biden he immediately fell back on the Chicago crowd for his earliest appointments – Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett, for example – while only leaving behind Jeremiah Wright and, hopefully, Billy Ayers.
For whatever reason Democratic Presidents seem too heavily dependent on the home team. Carter had his Georgia buddies as Clinton had his Arkansas cronies. Usually, however, it takes a few years for their inadequacies to shine through. Obama hasn’t even moved to Washington yet!