Friday, December 12, 2008

The Chicago Way

Studs Terkel summed it up perfectly when he said that Chicago isn't the most corrupt city in the country, only the most theatrically corrupt.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that Rod Blagojevich isn't just some nondescript small-timer who nabbed an under-the-table kickback or two from a local construction company but instead is the governor of Illinois, a foul-mouthed, laugh-out-loud caricature who looks like a villain from an old Dick Tracy cartoon and a guy who had the balls to try to sell Barack Obama's vacant senate seat.

I've received more than a few e-mails, and at least one comment, wondering why I haven't even bothered to mention the Blago scandal on this site.

The reason isn't so much because it's not important; it is, although I don't think the actions of Blago and his Studio 54 haircut can be legitimately attached in any way to Barack Obama, despite what the conflict-addicted media are willing to trumpet.

No, I haven't gotten into the Blago scandal for three reasons. One is that before this site went exclusively political, I used to write about whatever moved me on a given day and I'd like to get back to that (which means that politics will be woven into all the other nonsense that I churn out). The other is that, I'm sorry, but it's Chicago. Corruption -- even bald-faced, you've-gotta-be-fucking-kidding-me corruption -- is all in a day's work in Chicago. This is not to say that every Windy City political figure is tainted; once again, I believe in Barack Obama and think it's absurd to immediately try to hang a scandal around his neck. That's the nature of the American media -- build 'em up to knock 'em right back down -- and it's by and large wrong. The third reason is that I have nothing staggeringly insightful to add to the public discourse on this. Cesca, Arianna Huffington, even Jason Linkins (who I'm pretty sure dislikes me intensely) over at HuffPost have all taken up the torch of putting this "scandal" in its proper perspective -- and they've done a fantastic job. There's simply nothing I could say that would influence anyone one way or the other. Factor in the aforementioned reason number one -- my desire to only write about what moves me and not be the "paper of record" for anyone trying to keep up with politics -- and you'll get why I've left Blago-the-walking-78-page-indictment alone.

At some point, something may come up in the case that I think lends itself to my commentary.

You'll be the first to know if it and when it does.


Anonymous said...

I actually think Obama saw it all around him, and get me the hell away from here....

without Chicago corruption, there would be NO OBAMA in 2008

(lets hope so)

Anonymous said...

Next up for firing at CNN: Jamie McIntyre

dick_gozinia said...

Obama began distancing himself from Blago and Emil Jones years ago. And for good reason, too. Those guys and a myriad of other characters have been tied up in FBI corruption investigations for 4 years.

I don't have any inside information on this case, but I'm a veteran of a few Illinois political campaigns and lets just say that I don't remember one of those guys that was remotely clean. That being said, BO has never come across as a guy who played in the mud with the rest of these corrupt bastards. And, yes, I voted for him. But I voted against Blago twice because he's a prick.

And for the record, Blago looks a lot more like Phil Hartman as Caveman Lawyer than anything else.

VOTAR said...

I dunno, Chez.

It isn't quite clear to me whether Jason Linkins does or doesn't like you. It's sorta fifty-fifty. Could go either way. Very hard to determine.

Also, blogger is finally letting us have capitalized names. YAY!!!

Heather said...

I think he has a secret crush on you but doesn't want anyone to know, therefore he has to bash you in order to make it seem like he hates you. It's classic grade school boy/girl politics...but in this case boy/boy.

Fifth Generation Leftist said...

I read Jason Linkins blog. I laughed. Hysterically. At work. I'm sorry.

kanye said...

I've been thinking about this post all afternoon...whether or not I should throw in my two-cents worth. I don't participate in your political posts, Chez, because politics is a world that I excised from my life a couple of years ago.

I spent 21...22 years in politics: Union politics, Cook County politics, Chicago politics, and not always, but usually, discussing politics for me is what I imagine discussing CNN's internal workings with CNNFan would be like for you. 30 seconds in and it's all that I can do not to say, "Shut the fuck up, you've got no fucking clue." Better to just keep quiet and avoid a fist fight.

I will say that while everything that dick_gozinia wrote is spot-on, it's the tail end of the story. At this point, all that's left is the spectacle. If anyone is really interested in wrapping their head around this whole mess, you have to go back to 1987 and Joe Biden's failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. That's how long the tendrels are.

Maybe I'll lay it all out some time...not sure. It'd probably take me a couple of days and I'm not sure that I want to spend that kind of time thinking about it.