|Chicago's Original 'Boss" Richard J. Daley|
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Chicago Politics Comes to Washington
With the Obama administration reeling from three (count-em 3) scandals the American people are now getting an idea what it is like to live in Chicago.
Chicago is the city where the dead vote and the ballot boxes still have to be stuffed just to make sure the dead don't change their minds.
As Studs Terkel once wrote: "Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt.”
When Obama was elected in 2008 I knew it would only be a matter of time before Chicago style politics took over in Washington. Now it has--and how.
Let's take a look at what has transpired in the past few days. Monday Obama and his Chicago minions found themselves in the bizarre position of reiterating Republican umbrage over the admission that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, while condemning his political opponents for generating "a sideshow" over his administration’s non-response to last year’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya.
By the end of the day Monday, the Obama administration found itself battling yet another potential crisis as lawyers for the Associated Press charged that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of its reporters and editors in what the news agency called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
Then, Tuesday the nation watched White House press spokesman Jay Carney get his knickers in a twist over persistent and hostile questioning from an obviously outraged mainstream press corps that until now had been the administration's biggest cheerleaders.
But just as in Chicago, where politicians never admit to wrongdoing--even as they are carted off to prison--Carney, Obama et al feigned ignorance of the Justice Department's raid on AP and the IRS targeting of conservative organizations.
"We must wait for the facts to come out," Carney wheezed under the bright lights of the White House press briefing room.
Actually, the facts are out. The IRS has already admitted some of its offices targeted conservative organizations for "special treatment" much to the delight (I am sure) of Obama and his Chicago acolytes. A report by the Inspector General, sure to be critical of the IRS, is due out later this week.
As for the Justice Department, there is little doubt that it subpoenaed phone records of editors and reporters. The question now is for what reason? And where did the order to do so come from?
“This is obviously disturbing,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Committee. “Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.”
Welcome to Chicago! That is the way politicians in the Windy City have behaved for more than 150 years.
Mark Twain was aware of that dubious legacy back in 1897 when he penned the following in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar: "Satan (impatiently) to Newcomer: The trouble with you Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here; whereas you are merely the most numerous." (From," 1897).
Those "Chicago People" may not be the most numerous in Washington, but they have managed to latch onto a lot of power--from the White House on down the line.
Finally, much to the chagrin of the Obama administration, Republicans rejuvenated scrutiny of the White House on Benghazi, including last week’s House Oversight Committee hearing that featured the No. 2 U.S. official in Libya at the time of the attack describing how his pleas for a military response to the assaults were rejected.
Last week, internal emails showed that Obama's senior aides and State Department officials edited out references to terrorism in early "talking points" put out by the administration last September.
In Chicago when politicians don't want something disclosed whistleblowers mysteriously disappear or suddenly lose their memories. It's the Chicago Way.
So what will the White House do now? As much as Jay Carney would like to, he can't make an irate press disappear. They will not go away and they will continue to ask annoying questions that will cause a president who somehow believes he should be politically inviolate to fret and fume.
Up until now, Carney has had a pretty easy job. He only had to field tough questions from a handful of reporters (most from Fox News). Now he has the entire press corps to deal with. It's about time.
Obama, who might be the most arrogant president in history, would do well to take a lesson from the original boss of Chicago, Richard J. Daley, who said:
"Power is dangerous unless you have humility."