Will Barack Obama's presidential candidacy serve his state and city by finally drawing national attention to the sleazy and corrupt politics of Illinois and Chicago?
It is all about context. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet he is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission. It is all so very mystical.
Perhaps viewing Obama as a Chicago political creature would conflict with the established national media narrative of Obama as a reformer. Actually, there's no "perhaps" about it.
"I think I have done a good job in rising politically in this environment without being entangled in some of the traditional problems of Chicago politics," Obama told reporters and editors at a Tribune editorial board meeting several weeks ago.
Yes, an excellent job. Except for his dalliance with his indicted real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, a relationship Obama considers a mistake, the senator has not played the fly to Mayor Richard Daley's spider. Almost, but not quite.
"I know there are those like John Kass who would like me to decry Chicago politics more frequently, and I'll leave that to his editorial commentary," Obama said.
Not the politics, just the corruption, I said then, wishing silently that he had decried it all, that he'd stood up years ago and pointed to the list of sleazy deals, pointed an angry finger at the Duffs, the white, Outfit-connected drinking buddies of Daley who received $100 million in affirmative action contracts through City Hall.
Read the whole thing.