Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Unthinkables

Rick Moran gives readers a tour of the "Chicago Way" and starts off the education with a quote from the movie The Untouchables.

Malone: You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do?

Ness: Anything and everything in my power. Malone: And then what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way because they’re not gonna give up the fight until one of you is dead.

Ness: How do you do it then?

Malone: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way…

Many of us familiar with Chicago politics have been wondering for months at the apparent disconnect of the media regarding Obama’s relationship to the Chicago political machine. Where did they think this guy came from?

The lack of curiosity by the press about Obama’s connections to one of the most corrupt city governments in the United States should be one of the big media stories of this campaign. While it is true that Obama’s connections to the Machine are not as extensive as many other politicians, I’ve got news for you Obama apologists; try running for any office in Chicago – local, state, or federal – and see how far you get without support from the regular Democrats.

Moran's article is a tour de force. There's just one thing I don't get. The guys down at the NYT can read the Chicago Tribune just as well as anyone else. New York may be big, but Chicago isn't that small a ville. So why would political events roiling that town give the national news a miss? What else is going on? What explains the curious media blindness towards Chicago, Rezko and -- coming in from left field -- Auchi? The blindness isn't caused by illiteracy, it's not even caused by bias.

The blinders were probably caused by the Audacity of Hope. The inability to look closely at Obama was rooted in what they feared to see. It's not as if Obama's media admirers didn't know about the Chicago Way. They just didn't want to think about it; that would break their own spell.

The more bankrupt an ideology, the more more manic-depressive it is. The more manic-depressive it needs to be. In Orwell's 1984 the Two Minutes' Hate regularly alternated with ecstatic news bulletins about mythical victories on the Eurasian Front. True believers oscillated from a state of outrage to ecstasy with the permission of the Party because both were safe states. It was the quiet that was haunted. It was the moment of calm realization that the Party feared. Bankrupt ideologies require prodigies and miracles to keep its world spinning on its axis. As long as it spins you can't look around. And in the 21st century, which has been shorn of miracles, the wows are supplied by appearance, rhetoric, youth and glitz. Liberalism needed Obama as much as he needed them. He gave them dreams and they would give him power.

To truly accept tha the existence of the "Chicago Way" is to simultaneously concede the necessity of the painstaking, often morally ambiguous ways needed to deal with it. The "Chicago Way" is the domestic expression of the International Way. Not the fairy-tale United Nations paradise imagined by some, but as it really is: a sad place thronged with tyrants, psychopaths and dangerous people, the Capones, Rezkos and Daleys of the world stage.

People who need to believe Barack Obama can solve the world crisis by calling a Muslim summit must of necessity need to forget you can't clear corruption from Chicago by meeting with the aldermen of that great city. To believe in the Audacity of Hope you need to dis-remember the Chicago Way. Especially if you plan on voting for the man representing Hope who came from there.

Mayor Richard Daley making an argument for raising real estate taxes to fund a bankrupt rapid transit system.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

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Blogger DanMyers said...

And, didn't Hillary cut her teeth in Chicago? For some reason, that keeps popping in my single synapse.....

3/06/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

(It's been part of the "home political discussion" for months...How Chicago has produced some "excellent socialists"....)

3/06/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

By all rights, Chicago should have the largest graveyards in the U.S. It is said that everyone should move there to spend your final years because it is one of the few places where you get to remain politically active after death. This practice has been justified on the basis that most of the people in Chicago don’t vote when they are alive, so they need to get caught up, post-mortem.

3/06/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Maybe the Hope is that the Chicago Way will be violent and psychopathic enough to meet and vanquish the Muslim Way.

Although Obama hardly seems to be a muscular enough standard-bearer for the Chicago Way ... but I suppose if you have "friends" that's all that's necessary.

Note that back then, Elliott Ness was a real live good guy cop and he managed to make a dent in the Chicago Way, at least for a few minutes. He wouldn't be allowed by the Progressives to act or react that way now.

3/06/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


3/06/2008 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Isn't St Barry one of the Unstinkables?

3/06/2008 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Both Hillary and Barry studied under the same Commie Organizer.

3/06/2008 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

REZKOWATCH Follow the Money: Rezko under investigation and deep in debt buys lot

According to a "previously sealed court transcript," Rezko, who is in debt by $50 million, now "relies on 'family' handouts of $7,500 a month to pay monthly costs." ABC News wrote that "Rezko's bleak financial picture raises the question of how the Rezkos were able to buy a vacant lot adjoining the home of Sen. Barack Obama in 2005, at a time Rezko says he was already in deep debt."

Follow the Money: Auchi's money, Rezko's lot, Obama's house
Follow the Money: Auchi: Indicted Blagojevich fundraiser got loan from Iraqi billionaire

3/06/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

I live in Youngstown Ohio which was once called "Little Chicago" on account of the mob influence. And the gangland murders (I've had a number of friends and acquaintances die that way -- car bombings and execution style slayings).

And, of course, the machine politics. I'm still a registered Democrat because the real election for local offices is the primary. (I voted for Hillary, by the way, to keep hope alive and audacious).

Chicago may have Saul Alinsky but we had Gus Hall, the head of the Communist party. I had friends who were Stalinist -- that's what they called themselves. I'd say to them, "Geez, couldn't you at least be a Trotskyite. It's more fashionable. Impress the ladies. The ones who shave."

Interestingly, they were labor organizers and they would drag me off to union meetings (we worked for US Steel). Until I figured what they were up to and started voting against them.

Much of our local government has been indicted lately. Our former congressman is in the Federal Pen (Jim Traficant). Still, people here vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats.

I tell them the Federal Government started helping Youngstown in 1965 when we had 160,000 prosperous residence. Forty years of help later we got 70,000 middling to poor.

And where has Greater Washington D.C. gone? Way up. Who is helping who?

3/06/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Still, the Chicago Way DID put JFK in the White House.

Gotta give 'em dat.

3/06/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger John Hawkins said...

Yeah, Hillary was from Chicago. I remember back when she first started flirting (um, sorry for the choice of words) with the idea of running for Senate. People wondered if she'd run for Senate from Illinois (her home state) or from Arkansas (her, ah, state by marriage).

When she decided to be a carpetbagger in New York, where she'd never lived, well, it was one of the more cynical maneuvers in recent history. That New Yorkers elected her was proof of their own idiocy.

Anyway, it will be poetic justic of a sort of she is denied her dreams by an Illinois Senator.

But really, someone needs to ask the hard quesions about St. Barack.

3/06/2008 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Smith said...

Barack may have to get photos of Hillary with that actress she's seeing.

3/06/2008 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Obama's women reveal his secret by Spengler.

Make your preparations while you still have the right to do so.

3/06/2008 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

The Chicago Way is to never stop fighting, even when its over. This could be a very interesting year.

O'Reily's saying on Leno that if it gets dirty He'll bring them down. O'Reily is an amateur. Even Nast would have a tough time charractureizing the current crop of Chicagoan Politicians. I don't think there are enough belly crawling critters to fit the descriptive necessity. Current contenders included.

3/07/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Barack Obama and Me

Though it didn't make national news, Obama inflamed many residents in his old state Senate district last March when he endorsed controversial Chicago alderman Dorothy Tillman in a runoff election.

Flamboyant and unpredictable, Tillman is perhaps best known for once pulling a pistol from her purse and brandishing it around at a city council meeting. The ward she represented for 22 years, which included historic Bronzeville, comprised the city's largest concentration of vacant lots.

Just three months before Obama made his endorsement, the Lakefront Outlook community newspaper ran a three-part investigative series exposing flagrant crony­ism and possible tax-law violations that centered on Tillman and her biggest pet project, a taxpayer-funded cultural center built across the street from her ward office that had been hemorrhaging money since its inception.

The series won a national George Polk Award, among the most coveted prizes in journalism. Not bad for a 12-page rag with a circulation of 12,000 and no Web site. I had already left the Outlook and had nothing to do with the project.

In the end, Tillman lost the election despite Obama's endorsement, which critics said countered his calls for clean government. Obama told the Chicago Tribune that he had backed Tillman because she was an early supporter of his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

3/07/2008 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Over the Top

"I end with a deadly, deadpan prediction from Christopher Hitchens.
Hillary is the next president, he told radio's Hugh Hewitt, because, "there's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power . . . people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power.
They win in the end."

It was like Claude Rains summing up the meaning of everything in the film "Lawrence of Arabia":
"One of them's mad and the other is wholly unscrupulous."

It's the moment when you realize you just heard the truth, the meaning underlying all the drama.
"They win in the end."
Gave me a shudder.

-Peggy Noonan

3/07/2008 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Definition of "Bean Counting"
There are more than one or two kinds of diversity:
From a House hearing yesterday with DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, according to the Wash Post :

3/07/2008 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger Paul in Boston said...

The video of Mayor Daley is a bit disappointing. The REAL Mayor Daley, his father, would never have stooped so low as to actually argue with the City Council, he would have told them what to do and they'd do it.

3/07/2008 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Just look at how the JFK Lama got into his senate office in the first place. He had a tough opponent in Jack Ryan and the JFK Lama and the machine worked hard to get Jack & Jeri Ryan's divorce proceedings out to the public. Once that happened Jack was finished and a patsy stepped up and now we have the JFK Lama potentially in the Whitehouse.

My county is dominated by Republican machine politics. You want a county wide office you have to be a Republican. However, a large number of our county GOP officials give generously to Dem candidates in other races. Not uncommon.

3/07/2008 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"there's something horrible and undefeatable about people who have no life except the worship of power . . . people who don't want the meeting to end, the people who just are unstoppable, who only have one focus, no humanity, no character, nothing but the worship of money and power.
They win in the end."

Our founding fathers did not worship power - this is what they said about government power: "... that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it...."

Our founding fathers won in the end.

Will we ensure just government which serves the nation by governing with the consent of the governed? Will we ensure the survival of liberty? Will we struggle and sacrifice for freedom? Do we have the conviction and courage of our founding fathers?

3/07/2008 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger newtland said...

Do you think Rush will (should?) commit sepuku when it dawns on him that he is largely responsible for putting Hillary in the White House?

3/07/2008 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger comatus said...

"In Roman times, when a fellow tried to bribe a public official,
they would cut off his nose,
sew him in a bag with a wild animal,and throw that bag in the river. You tell Capone that l'll see him in Hell."

No kidding, he wouldn't be allowed to react that way now...

3/08/2008 01:55:00 PM  

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