How did Barack Obama get a reputation as a reformer — as a Chicago politician? The latest ad from Team McCain reminds voters of his close associates in Chicago and Springfield, attempting to ding the reformer image:
ANNCR: Barack Obama. Born of the corrupt Chicago political machine.
BARACK OBAMA: In terms of my toughness, look first of all, I come from Chicago.
ANNCR: His economic adviser, William Daley. Lobbyist. Mayor’s brother. His money man, Tony Rezko. Client. Patron. Convicted Felon. His “political godfather.” Emil Jones. Under ethical cloud.
His governor, Rod Blagojevich. A legacy of federal and state investigations.
With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead.
The ad picks four people from Illinois, but they make their weakest case last. Obama’s connections to Blagojevich and his ethical problems are indirect, through Rezko, and Rezko’s the bigger story for Obama anyway. Team McCain also picks the wrong Daley. Richard Daley, whose administration is so famously corrupt that US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has spent almost a career convicting members of it, got Obama’s endorsement in 2007.
How could anyone making a claim as a reformer endorse Richard Daley? That in and of itself should disabuse people of the myth of Barack Obama, Reformer. Daley, Jones, the Strogers, and more Obama allies and associates run the powerful “Chicago Machine” of patronage and corruption, and Obama never lifted a finger to reform it. In fact, at almost every opportunity, Obama has endorsed and protected it. David Axelrod, his chief politicial strategist, helped keep it in power.
Hopefully, this is just the first entry for a series of ads explaining the Machine to American voters, and the friend they have in Obama.