As I and many others have noted on more than one occasion, for as “different” (read: “honest and open”) a politician as Barack Obama has claimed to be the last two years, he rose in Chicago politics in large part on the backs of far leftists and “Chicago Way” types as Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Emil Jones Jr., Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, the Daleys, and soon-to-be-former Gov. Blago. He had the opportunity for 8 years as a state Senator to try and institute real change in a city known for its history of corrupt politicos big and small, but failed to do anything meaningful about it.
John Fund argues today that with the eruption of the Blago pay for play scandal, Obama can take the opportunity he didn’t while in Chicago to urge a clean up of a political system that has repeatedly rewarded some of the shadiest, dirtiest politicians and public figures for decades. Fund makes some good points, but I don’t see Obama doing much in the way of trying to “change” anything in Chi-town once this scandal dies down. For starters, he’s already got his hands full with the economy – which understandably is front and center right now for him. Not only that, but Chicago has served its purpose for him; it helped land him where he is today, and while he has thrown the “machine” under the bus, beyond condemning what happened I don’t see him having a need to ruffle too many feathers. He still plans to return to Chicago often, as he has family and friends there and – as has always been the case – he wouldn’t want to be persona non grata in the cocktail circuit to the most powerful who aided in his rise to power. So he’ll keep a safe distance, utter the right words about how things must “change” in Chicago, but beyond that, don’t expect much – if anything.