Skip to comments.(Chicago rat) Machine's shadow creeps over Obama
Posted on 11/05/2006 11:12:52 AM PST by Chi-townChief
It would have been one thing if Barack Obama had given Todd Stroger a one-armed hug. But a wet sloppy kiss? This past week Senators Obama and Dick Durbin signed a letter endorsing the candidacy of young Todd so that he might follow in his father's footsteps and become the next president of the Cook County Board.
This has been one of the sadder sagas in Chicago political history. And Obama, America's audacious knight in shining armor, deprives us of the very hope he likes to talk about in his speeches and his books.
I don't mean to let Durbin off the hook but, frankly, I expected him to endorse the "regular" in this race. But Obama has allowed us to believe that he is different somehow. A new voice, a new frontier.
Instead, he's traveled down the same dingy path that promotes the outright mediocrity and questionable competence that has given Chicago politics the reputation it richly deserves.
Obama can call young Todd "a good progressive Democrat" if he wants. But any conviction that Stroger will "lead" us somewhere worth going is quite a stretch, and Obama knows it.
Stroger served in the Illinois House during some of the same years Obama served in the Illinois Senate. Their time in the Legislature could not have been more different. Obama worked hard, built bridges with Downstate and suburban white politicians, proposed real programs and passionately pushed substantive legislation.
He was, by most Springfield accounts, often missing in action, uninterested when he was around, and about as passionate about his legislative duties as he now seems to be about this current race. Not.
Obama actively ran for the state Senate in 1996 while Stroger was appointed to the House in 1992 in a deal engineered by his father, John. Obama took some real chances in his pursuit of higher office, including a disastrous run for Congress against incumbent Bobby Rush in 2000.
Stroger didn't take chances, just orders from his dad and other ward bosses. In 2001 he was appointed by Mayor Daley as 8th Ward alderman and has been in City Council ever since. His record there is as undistinguished as it was in the Legislature.
And the shame, the absolute shame of this election, is that it was stolen from the voters by those same ward bosses who kept the public in the dark about John Stroger's health until it was too late for any independent, like County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, to file for the November election. That sleight of hand guaranteed that young Todd could be appointed to take his dad's place on the ballot. A legal but totally lousy move.
If Obama wants to endorse Todd Stroger in the race against Republican Tony Peraica, he should be a lot more candid about why. It's not because of Stroger's "progressive" politics. It's not because the Stroger family supported his past primary races for Congress or U.S. Senate. They didn't. It's because Obama isn't going to cross Daley Democrats or the African-American community that handed him his lunch in his loss against Rush six years ago.
But Obama is not audacious enough to tell us that.
Judging family ties Jill Cerone Marisie, the granddaughter of the late convicted mobster Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, is about to be elected a Cook County judge from the 13th Subcircuit. A Republican from Inverness, she has no opposition in next week's election and will proceed directly to the bench. Although the Chicago Council of Lawyers found her "not qualified" and the Chicago Bar Association, citing insufficient legal experience, said she was "not recommended," Marisie won the primary anyway against four other male opponents.
Her grandfather was a major mob henchman for the late Anthony "Big Tuna" Accardo and an associate of mobster Donald "The Wizard of Odds" Angelini. No one suggests Marisie or her father, Jack P. Cerone, is an operative of organized crime. There is, however, a certain family pride in the patriarch. Photos of Jackie the Lackey are prominently featured at his son's suburban restaurants.
Mob connections have been an issue in the November election. Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic candidate for state treasurer, has been grilled about loans his family's Broadway Bank has given to convicted mob associates though the loans were not illegal. Giannoulias' brother George is a donor to the Marisie campaign.
State Sen. Wendell Jones (R-Palatine) also supports Marisie, saying he checked her out and found her "outstanding."
Being a judge in Illinois is virtually a job for life. Not one judge in 10 years has lost a bid for retention, so Marisie could have a long career. Though I never succeeded in reaching her, I was curious about a couple of things. Among her campaign donors are individuals with familiar last names. One of them is "Accardo." Another is "Angelini."
I'd love to know more.
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When the template is "All Dem'crats good, all Republicans bad", critical thinking just flies right out the window.
The Illinois Dem'crats have a candidate for governor that would be inept as a bag boy down at Dominick's. Word is, he has been occupying the office in Springfield and in the state office building in Chicago, and they STILL have to lead him to his desk when he arrives in the morning. He does not have nearly four year's experience in the office, he has had about a day's experience some 1,400 times.
And nobody expects him to get any better.
Obama's a lot of things, but he ain't smart, and he sure as hell ain't clean.
A close associate of current Illinois Governor Rod Blohole is Tony Rezko
Rezko's been indicted by the Feds
Rezko has also done some sweetheart land deals for Obama, as noted in this thread:
Rezko is also Rahm Emmanuel's patron. We can expect to hear more about that.