If you live somewhere besides Chicago, you probably thought political machines were things of the past. With the fall of political operator Tony Rezko, friend and business dealing buddy of Barak Hussein Obama, the truth is once again brought to light: the dirtiest of politics are still being played and are still the keys to real power in Chicago and Illinois.
And Barak Hussein Obama is a fish in the waters of Chicago and Illinois. It’s where he cut his political teeth, where he learned his trade, and it is how he operates.
Dennis Byrne, writing in the Chicago Tribune today fears an Obama presidency for precisely this reason:
More than his racist minister chums, his starkly liberal voting record, his pandering to the get-out-of-Iraq-right-now zealots, what really bothers me about Barack Obama is his association with politics as practiced in Chicago and Illinois.
This is not a crime, of course, but the fact that he is someone who got his start and was propelled to stardom after an internship in the incubator of perhaps the nation’s most corrupt state gives me, at least, pause. It seems that everywhere you turn here, especially if it is toward the federal courthouse, some politician or political insider is being found guilty of some or another form of corruption
The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is popular in Europe, which tells is volumes. And their comments show us how similar to his state-side supporters his Europeans fans are:
“Belgians are rooting for Obama because, let’s face it, the guy knows what he’s talking about, especially compared to Bush,” says Stéphane Mangnay, a 34-year-old house husband in Villers-la-Ville.
I would rephrase that claim: “He knows how to talk” is about all I can agree with.
And yet, the Washington Times reports that Europe may not be as enthusiastic regarding an actual Obama presidency as they apparently are regarding his candidacy:
“Once President Bush is out of the White House, there will be huge expectations in Europe that a new, rosy dawn of peace and love is appearing over the Atlantic,” said Reginald Dale, a Europe scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“They’re liable to be somewhat disappointed, because America is still going to look after its own interests, and then the fundamental interests may not have changed that much,” he said.
The article actually begins by noting that an oft-overlooked part of Mr. Bush’s presidency is the fact that European relations have been significantly improved over his second term:
(A)s Mr. Bush heads to the continent Monday for a weeklong goodbye tour, the little known fact is that his administration has done much to repair the trans-Atlantic relationship in his second term.
And then there is the sea-change of leadership and power change in key and leading European countries over the last few years, with heads of state coming into power with decidedly pro-America and pro-Western ideologies:
The French and German leaders who opposed Mr. Bush on Iraq have been replaced by more pro-American conservatives – Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, respectively. Silvio Berlusconi, an old Bush friend, is once again Italy’s prime minister. And in Britain, the Conservative Party is resurgent while Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has distanced himself from Mr. Bush, is fighting for his political life.
Returning to the Chicago Tribune Op-Ed article:
(I)f Obama’s affiliations with the likes of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Rev. Michael Pfleger and ex-revolutionary Bill Ayers are legitimate issues, so is his political apprenticeship in the bowels of a political process that has sent governors, aldermen and countless other public officials to the pen. Has Obama picked up any bad habits by hanging around with these gents? Is he susceptible to the pressures that the “guys back home” will undoubtedly bring? The conventional wisdom among the Chicago punditry is that Chicago and Illinois pols are smacking their lips at the thought of installing an associate in the Executive Mansion.