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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And this is a problem....why, exactly???
Posted by Jill | 5:24 AM
It looks like the New York Times wants to head down the same road it did over a decade ago, when the paper's management decided they wanted to be at the forefront of the Whitewater witch hunt. After ignoring the Bush Administration's actual crimes for the last eight years, including its spirited defense of Administration shill Judith Miller, now the Gray Lady has decided that Barack Obama's advocacy of an ethics law in Chicago is responsible for the downfall of the governor he once supported. And that makes him.....unethical?
In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

Mr. Obama placed the call to his political mentor, Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois Senate. Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.


Beyond the irony of its outcome, Mr. Obama’s unusual decision to inject himself into a statewide issue during the height of his presidential campaign was a reminder that despite his historic ascendancy to the White House, he has never quite escaped the murky and insular world of Illinois politics. It is a world he has long navigated, to the consternation of his critics, by engaging in a kind of realpolitik, Chicago-style, which allowed him to draw strength from his relationships with important players without becoming compromised by their many weaknesses.

By the time Mr. Obama intervened on the ethics measure, his relationship with Mr. Blagojevich, always defined more by political proximity than by personal chemistry, had cooled as the governor became increasingly engulfed in legal troubles. There is nothing in the criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday to indicate that Mr. Obama knew anything about plans to seek money and favors in exchange for his Senate seat; he has never been implicated in any other “pay to play” cases that have emerged from the long-running investigation of the Blagojevich administration.

But like those previous cases, this latest one features political characters who figure in various stages of Mr. Obama’s climb from little-known state senator to presidential candidate, and who have since become politically radioactive because of corruption scandals. Some of those relationships posed a threat to Mr. Obama during the presidential campaign, forcing him to return tens of thousands of dollars in tainted campaign contributions and providing fodder for attack ads by rival candidates.

Though extreme examples, they were emblematic of the path cut by Mr. Obama through Chicago politics, where he became known for making alliances of convenience with personalities that seemed antithetical to his self-image as a progressive reformer. His political roots were in the left-leaning neighborhood of Hyde Park, but at key moments in his career he did not hesitate to form relationships with politicians who were fixtures of the Democratic machine.

This article gives lip service to the fact that Obama had nothing to do with Blagojevic's alleged crimes, and indeed advocated an ethics law that brought a criminal down. But this makes him unethical because during his career he had to work with people who may have been shade Chicago politicians? So what is Jeff Zeleny, one of the co-authors of the article saying -- that Obama should have left politics rather than sully his hands with these people?

Zeleny isn't among the Usual Suspects at the Times who can be relied on to write utter horseshit -- people like Elisabeth Bumiller and the Jodis Kantor and Rudoren née Wilgoren. But this article makes clear that for the New York Times, it's Game On in trying to tar another Democratic administration with the brush of scandal. It's peculiar how the paper still has a liberal reputation, despite having looked the other way while the Bush Administration ignored warnings of an impending attack, used that attack to go to war based on lies, advocated and ordered a policy of torture, held people for years without charges, advocated and implemented policies that wrecked the nation's economy -- and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, no wonder they're having trouble staying afloat: it's really as if they've just reprinted an old article and changed the names. Pffft!

Blogger Bob said...
I thought that article had a strangely negative tone toward Obama. Because the bad news about Blagojevic is also good news. He was caught. He & Obama were not friends or allies. Obama's relationship with the Chicago machine reminds us that a nimble politician can rise in a place like Chicago & stay honest. & none of Obama's so-called "mentors" are like Karl Rove was to Bush.