I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message
By Michael M. Bates
Cook County board president Todd Stroger has an almost $12,000 lien on his house for unpaid federal taxes. Illinois treasurer Alexi Giannoulias bought a $26,000 hybrid SUV with money from the state's college savings program. Former governor Milorad Blagojevich likely will be parking his hairbrush in a federal facility in the foreseeable future.
What do these exemplars of devoted public service have in common? Each was endorsed for his office by Barack Obama.
When Stroger ran, Obama and fellow Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told voters Todd was "a good progressive Democrat" capable of "lead(ing) us into a new era of Cook County government."
That he promptly did by giving the county the highest sales tax rate in the country. Still not satisfied, Stroger kept seeking to bring only the best and brightest to his regime. Dining at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, he recruited a busboy there for a $48,000 administrative assistant job. It turned out the guy has a police record as long as your average Chicago precinct captain's rap sheet. Yes, Todd Stroger bears the Obama stamp of approval.
So does Alexi Giannoulias, who is now keeping a log of how that SUV is being used for official business. And all it took was for his purchase to make the newspaper.
Giannoulias was endorsed by Obama in his party's 2006 primary as well as in the general election. Alexi comes from a banking family, one that has loaned millions of dollars to a Chicago crime figure involved in bookmaking, prostitution and gambling casinos.
Alexi first claimed the loans were made before he became active in the family business. Then it came out that $12 million of the loans were serviced by Giannoulias himself. When that made the newspapers, Obama said, "I'm going to take a look at what's been going on and I'm going to ask Alexi directly what is happening." Whatever his story was must have satisfied Barry, whose support was critical to Giannoulias's subsequent victory.
Then we have Obama's support for Rod Blagojevich. Last July, Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker wrote about Obama in 2002:
"That year, he gained his first high-level experience in a statewide campaign when he advised the victorious gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich, another politician with a funny name and a message of reform. Rahm Emanuel, a congressman from Chicago and a friend of Obama's, told me that he, Obama, David Wilhelm, who was Blagojevich's campaign co-chair, and another Blagojevich aide were the top strategists of Blagojevich's victory. He and Obama 'participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor,' Emanuel said. 'We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two.'"
In June of 2002, Obama said on a local-access cable program: " …right now, my main focus is to make sure that we elect Rod Blagojevich as Governor. . ."
The talk of scandals and Federal investigations of Blagojevich didn't diminish Obama's enthusiasm for his re-election in 2006:
"We've got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois and for that reason I am proud to stand behind him," declared Obama.
Chicago alderman Dorothy Tillman also was endorsed by Obama in her last election two years ago. For 20 years, Tillman served on the city council. Known as an avid proponent of slavery reparations, she developed quite a reputation, one enhanced by a report that she waved a gun around during a public meeting. She led an assault at the Art Institute to remove an unflattering picture of Harold Washington. "Yassuh boss!" she'd shriek at white aldermen. At a banquet at the Palmer House Hilton, her staff demanded white servers be replaced with black ones. "It's not personal against anybody, I'm just pro-my people," she explained.
Barack Obama speaks against racial divisiveness, but he endorsed Dorothy Tillman. And he told voters to elect Todd Stroger, Alexi Giannoulias, and Milorad Blagojevich.
Obama's judgment is abysmal. And that's being charitable. Will the mainstream media ever notice? Nossuh boss!
Michael M. Bates is a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right. His web site can be found at http://www.michaelmbates.com/.
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