There is an old saying that, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The tree in this case is the Chicago political machine and last week we saw yet another example of the bad apples that fall from that corrupt tree in the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Balgojevich for his, “play for pay,” scheme, selling political appointments for money and cash favors. Including Barack Obama’s United States Senate seat.
The political corruption in Chicago has been a part of the landscape in the, ” windy city,” since the days of Al Capone who bought the city through extortion money. The players have changed since then many times but the net result has always been political corruption throughout the Chicago City and State political machines.
Blago is the second Illinois Governor in succession to face criminal prosecution for activities taking place while in office. His predecessor Republican George Ryan entered prison in 2007 after being convicted on corruption charges for taking payoffs. Two other Illinois Governors in recent history, Dan Walker who served until 1977 and Otto Kerner who served until 1968, both Democrats, also are on the ever expanding list of corrupt Illinois Governors.
Then there are the tales of Mayor Richard Daley, who headed the Chicago City Political Machine from 1955 until his death in 1976. Known as the, “Boss of Chicago,” Daley strong armed Chicago politics for more than 20 years and rumors ran wild that he helped Joseph Kennedy steal the 1960 election for JFK by manipulating votes in Illinois. The State that put Kennedy over the top in the electoral vote in 1960. While no corruption charges plagued Daley it is well known that his political strength in Chicago protected him during his tenure from legal activity against him. He owned the City.
With the history of the endless corruption resulting from the Chicago political machine, one cannot help but wonder about another apple from that political tree that is now the premier politician in the Nation. That politician being Barack Obama. Does the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” apply to the President Elect ?
While to this point Obama seems to have kept his head above the political fray in Chicago politics, there are still so many unknowns about him that one has to wonder what skeletons are in his political closet as a result of his being a product of the Chicago machine. Whether those skeletons involve him directly or the many who Obama is bringing to Washington as staff in his administration, the question arises as to how much of the Chicago political machine will influence the Executive Branch with Obama as President ?
While the direct involvement of the political power of Chicago may not provide that influence, those on Obama’s staff who are also a product of that corrupt political machine will be giving advice to a President who himself is also a product of that same political atmosphere. An atmos–phere of corruption and scandal that is almost taken as a given in Chicago politics.
Another old saying about apples may also apply to Barack Obama. This one being, “one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.” But for anyone who has had a bad apple in a bushel of good apples, if that bad apple is with good apples long enough it will spoil those that come in contact with it. Has Obama or those who he is bringing to Washington from the Chicago machine been associated with the political bad apples in Illinois long enough for the spoilage to rub off ?
Or are these political associations just another in the long line of questionable associations, (Ayers, Rezko, Wright), of Barack Obama that question his judgement and add to the mystery of the man who will soon be the leader of this Nation and the free World ? Even the press have finally acknowledged that little is known of this man and questions still abound about his past and his past associations.
Obama has stated for the record that there are two political persuasions in Chicago politics. One corrupt and dishonest and the other above board and working for the common good. He insists that he is a product of the latter rather than the former. But so did Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan and a host of other Chicago politicians who have since fallen to the corrupt Chicago machine.
Since Barack Obama will become the 44th President on January 20, one can only hope and pray that the corruption that has been apart of the Chicago political landscape for nearly a century stays in Illinois and does not reach to Washington through the Executive Branch and the products in the Obama administration from that landscape. Let us hope that this time the apple did fall FAR from the tree.
Ken Taylor http://theliberalslies.blogspot.com