I'm a Chicagoan, born and bred, and still living in the County of Cook after 55 years of subjugation to the Throne of Daley Everlasting. Having also done business within the County as a remodeler/contractor, I've had some close-up perspective to fill in around my lifelong attention to things Machine.
Additionally, I am married to a daughter and granddaughter of old-time Irish Chicago policemen, a woman who also spent ten years toiling for a large, wealthy suburb as a mid-manager and who fled one Friday afternoon, exclaiming, "I'm becoming one of them!", her final tribute to government employment.
I mention all of this as background to my introduction of a point: As far as the 2008 election campaign/endless train wreck goes, a grasp of Chicagoness is critical to a full comprehension of what is about to take place. I have little doubt that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee for president. What's important about Chicagoness is that both are Chicagoans (to some degree) but more importantly, both are products of the Cook County Machine. Clinton grew up inches from the Chicago line, and still consorts with her old local friends.
Clinton's easy, casual corruption, a long and should-be-well-known story, comes right out of her Chicagoness and growing up under the aegis of the Daley behemoth.
But more important is Barack Obama. I submit that few who are not Chicagoans really appreciate what he is: a well-designed and manufactured product of the Daley Machine. He was built for the specific purpose of keeping his master, and his many wealthy friends, out of prison.
Second on his task list is funneling enormous amounts of money into the county, which is far beyond broke, and beyond salvation, as well, owing to the assiduous purchasing of power by the Man. Chicago is beautiful, and broke. Daley needs billions to hold on and keep the lights on. Obama is merely the front man for that effort.
There was nothing accidental about his rise to prominence. Some of the most capable political operatives in the country seized upon his potential to create a nearly irresistible force in national politics.
The creators knew his one natural asset, his incredible, practically weapons-grade personal charm, was by far the most important thing. No buzz could ever take hold without something to initiate it.
I will cite as a personal example: a close friend works for one of the giant corporations who have early on established ownership of the President-to-be. I wish I could provide better context, but I cannot chance my friend's gainful employment at his beloved line of work.
Non-political, he was an instantaneous convert upon first meeting. The transformation was truly frightening. I tried to reason: everything you believe in as a (now-formerly) self-employed person is what Obama is against!
To no avail. The pod had done its work; the neuralizer had wiped out the past; the soma had undone the skepticism.
Multiply that by thousands and it's easy to picture the Freres Daley rubbing their hands with glee.
Into their new empty vessel they allowed some sophisticated-sounding stuff they remembered from the Sixties to be poured in, just so it all sounded nice and intellectual and elite-like.
One managed election process later, they had a newly-minted state senator, who, when he could be stirred into actually taking a stand, mostly just followed the party line demanding a total ban on firearm possession. Usually, though, a lowish profile and a set of "present" votes was plenty.
When the time came to spring the creation upon the broader public and insert him into the US Senate where he could start making some real hay, one small kink developed- the normally hopelessly inept Illinois Republican Party inadvertently nominated a superior candidate. Jack Ryan was not only far more qualified, with far more intellectual horsepower (a measure of work accomplished, remember), he was every bit as pretty and nearly as charming as the Daleybot.
This impediment was quickly dispatched with though, as the Machine enlisted the aid of the local newsrag, the Chicago Tribune, which they knew, of course, could not help themselves but to assist the ascension of one of their own, a "progressive".Furthermore, knowing the deeply-ingrained institutional racism of the leftist press, the fact that the candidate could be called "black", even if he wasn't, very, made the process a slam-dunk. No modern journo could help but be an advocate for the saintly victim, the put-upon Person Of Color.
Jack Ryan was taken out swiftly with a smear campaign that probably left even Ryan stunned, and he was plenty smart enough to know what he was getting himself into.
Even if the Daleyites weren't brutal enough, the infusion of Clintonites, most especially the savage Rahm Emmanuel, should have let him know how bad it was going to be.
It was bad. The Tribune ran daily front-page screamers about suspected problems with Ryan, while judge-shopping across the country (who paid for that? The Trib? Soros/MoveOn? The DNC?) in a frantic effort to find dirt.They never actually did, but with the trumpets blaring that candidate Ryan was being investigated, and Seriously Wrong Things were sure to be found, the tide of public opinion began to slip away from the hapless Ryan. Merely having totally overshadowed the Machine product in every way imaginable was no match for the war-sized headlines.Finally the Tribsters (or whoever they hired) managed to get Ryan's divorce papers unsealed. Right there was enough to power days' worth of headlines. When the nasty bits were finally opened to public view (destroying the son's life, too), all they had was the unsubstantiated claim made by the wife's divorce attorney, refuted by Ryan, that he had asked her to have intercourse with him, her husband, in an inappropriate place.
Lacking anything other than this assertion, the Trib went so full blast that even the ordinarily-politically-savvy Trib columnist John Kass crumbled and began to whimper that maybe Ryan (who he respected and favored) should step aside.
It took about three weeks to demolish the decent Ryan. It took merely hours for the Party to appoint Alan Keyes, a talk-show-host/intellectual from Maryland, to the now-absurd candidacy. Apparently no one else was willing to step in front of the Daley/Emmanuel firing line.
Even running virtually unopposed, Obama struggled to get two-thirds of the vote in a very blue state with the assistance of a machine capable of delivering tens of thousands of “extra” votes.
Obama still has not yet won an actual, contested election (can’t count the Iowa primary caucuses). But given the nature of 21st Century media, it hardly matters. Oprah, Brian Williams, Barbara Walters, and the whole rest of the Lefty opinion-maker class has already swooned for the Obama charm, and in an environment wherein substance, stands, and common sense are just baggage to be concealed, the bandwagon has gone out on the road with nary a bump in the golden brick road ahead of it.
The Tribune has never stopped its advocacy. They did the clearing of the battlespace early on, as the current practice requires, and got most of that annoying corruption stuff out of the way and got on with the business of hyping without allowing any leaks of any position on any topic save that of "change". Now, they're content to run daily hagiographies with glamour shots of the product, usually with a microphone, smiling beneficently at the little people while expounding on how much better it's all going to be when he's running things.
In the end, it's hard not to think the Machine is getting its very own president.