06 Mar 2008

The Chicago Way

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A bitter divorce fight unexpectedly brought down what had seemed to be a shoo-in Republican successor to a retiring incumbent Republican senator, and promoted an obscure state senator occupying a safe inner-city legislative seat to Washington. One stem-winding speech later, Barack Obama was widely viewed as presidential timber, and after a few Clinton campaign stumbles as the front-runner.

When there is a serious possibility that Barack Obama could be the next President of the United States, it seems desirable to look closely at his background, and it is impossible to understand the real character and background of Barack Obama without understanding Chicago, and The Chicago Way

John Kass, in the Chicago Tribune, opines that The Chicago Way isn’t the tough-guy creed of outdoing your opponent in aggression proposed by the Sean Connery-played cop in The Untouchables (1987):

He [ Al Capone] puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue…” says Connery’s cop. “That’s the Chicago Way.”

and suggests a very different definition.

The Chicago Way.

What is it? Is it easily abused? Is it dangerous in the wrong hands?

This is critical, as the nation’s eyes turn toward Chicago’s federal building, where Barack Obama’s personal real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, stands trial on federal corruption charges.

The phrase must be put in context, something the national media fails to do when they portray Obama as the boy king drawing the sword from the stone, ready to change America’s politics of influence and lobbyists, ignoring the fact that Chicago ain’t Camelot. …

In the past, a few reporters have applied “The Chicago Way” to our pizza, theater and opera, thereby embarrassing themselves beyond redemption. …

Chicago’s mob — we call it the Outfit — was slapped last summer by federal prosecutors in the Operation Family Secrets trial that convicted Outfit bosses, and cops and put political figures in with them. We’ve had our chief of detectives sent to prison for running the Outfit’s jewelry-heist ring. And we’ve had white guys with Outfit connections get $100 million in affirmative action contracts from their drinking buddy, Mayor Richard Daley, who must have seen them pink and white and male at some point.

That’s the Chicago Way.

“This country was built on taxes,” said a Democratic machine hack, Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims, as she and other Democrats prepared to slap Chicago with the highest sales tax of any major city in the country.

Her belief, that America was built on taxes, is one of the unique features of our own city’s history, which reportedly began in 1776, when the Daleys boldly declared our independence from the English king.

“There’s not that many political hacks in Cook County,” Sims insisted after the tax hike.

Not that many hacks? The only one reporters need to bother about is also involved at the same federal building: the mayor’s own Duke of Patronage, Robert Sorich.

Sorich has been found guilty by a jury, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals above the Rezko courtroom is still deciding whether to redeem the jury or redeem the mayor, who’d much rather have Sorich happy than Obama in the White House.

Sorich was convicted two years ago of running the mayor’s massive and illegal patronage operation, and he’s still not in prison. Thugs, morons, idiots, and convicts were put on the city payroll to work the precincts so that Daley could keep getting elected. Obama’s spokesman, David Axelrod, defended Daley patronage in a Tribune op-ed piece.

The Daley family’s parish priest in Bridgeport, Rev. Dan Brandt, lovingly compared Sorich to Jesus Christ as both had troubles with the law.

“People often say, what would Jesus do?” he said, loyal not only to his faith but to the 11th Ward’s place at the head of Chicago Way. “I put a twist on it and say, ‘What would I do for Jesus?’ With whom Robert has a lot in common as far as legal problems … [The Lord] was a convicted felon. And Robert was convicted, and so he may have a lot in common with Jesus.”

When the parish priest does right by the patronage boss to protect the mayor who gets endorsed by that great reformer Sir Barack of O’bama, that’s the Chicago Way.

Naturally, there are some squares who don’t think taxpayers should pave the Chicago Way to make it easy for Rezko to help purchase the senator’s dream house in a kinky deal exposed by the Tribune and still not fully explained.

“It’s really the Old Chicago Way,” said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. “In the old days they would pretty much admit it up front, and now they deny it. It’s essentially about power, access to government jobs, government contracts and taking care of your own.”

Don’t miss his 2:49 video

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Corrected: I had mistakenly spoken of Jack Ryan as an incumbent, one of our commenters was kind enough to refresh my memory.

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Oslen

Ryan was not running for reelection. He was running for Peter Fitzgerald’s seat.



JDZ

Bad memory. Thanks. I’ll correct that.



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