|I get really tired of holier-than-thou reporters in the traditional media who are so appalled by the messiness of politics. I am fond of quoting an old mentor of mine, Paul Tully, who used to say that "you can't take the politics out of politics." No, you can't, and you shouldn't try. Personally, I don't want a President who is not good at the political game, who doesn't know how to play hardball. But this article seems to imply that Obama is a sleaze because he survived and prospered in the minefields of Chicago politics.
The piece is full of lines like:
But Chicago, with its reputation as a center of vicious and corrupt politics, may also be the place that Obama needs to leave behind.
Lines that like reminded me of a Hillary supporter from Boston I know who, during the primary, complained bitterly of the tough tactics Obama supporters were using in out-organizing Clinton forces during caucuses.
People think Obama is this idealistic reformer, but he's really just an old-time Chicago pol.
I'm quite familiar with Chicago politics. I knocked on doors for Harold Washington; I worked for Paul Simon; a former business partner was Richard Daley's campaign manager the first time he won the Chicago mayoral race; 20 years ago, I helped form the Chicago-based consulting firm The Strategy Group, (although I am no longer affiliated). And politics in the Windy City ain't beanbag. It's tough, it's complicated. Yes, there has been known to be some corruption from time to time. But can anyone let me know, outside of some pockets of small-town America and maybe a few college towns here and there, where in America politics isn't tough and complicated and occasionally corrupt? Is it my upset Hillary supporter's hometown of Boston? Is it in New York City where Clinton and the New Yorker is based? Or maybe it's in Texas where, as Lloyd Bentsen so eloquently put it 20 years ago, "politics is a contact sport"? What about pure government in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida? Or maybe in the South, where everything would be fine if those pointy-headed bureaucrats from the federal government would leave the poor locals alone? Perhaps things are more pure in the Clinton world of politics, or in the Republican party?
Well, no. Politics is a tough business, where sometimes you piss people off, and sometimes you have to cut deals with people who aren't pure, and sometimes you have to raise money from rich people, oh my. The fact that Obama has survived and flourished in a political environment like Chicago is a pretty good sign as far as I'm concerned. I'm fine with having a President with sharp elbows, one who is tough and aggressive and effective on behalf of the right things.