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Is Obama a disgraceful two bit Chicago hack?

By Hal Brown
July 19, 2010

My real life friend posting as “bogofree” writes that Obama is a “disgraceful two bit Chicago hack”. Do I agree?

First, I’ll answer with another question. Was Richard J. Daley, the longest serving mayor of any city who ruled Chicago for 21 years, also a “disgraceful two bit Chicago hack”?

Wikipedia, accurately in this case, describes a “political hack” as “a negative term ascribed to a person who is part of the political party apparatus, but whose intentions are more aligned with victory than personal conviction.” By that definition Daley was a demonstrably successful politician so he can hardly be described as “two bit”. His son, Richard M. Daley will become the longest serving mayor if he’s still in office on Christmas day. Some people thought the first Mayor Daley was a disgraceful hack. As someone who watched the Chicago Democratic Convention riots during the Vietnam War I came to judge that Mayor Daily as a disgrace hack, and much worse.

I don’t know much about the current mayor to draw any conclusions.

President Obama has been a disappointment to me in many ways, but I think I understand that he is a political animal, a hybrid if you will. He’s not a purebred bleeding heart liberal animal like me. He’s a hybrid, a pragmatic liberal. My breed of liberal usually doesn’t get too far in politics anywhere but in Boston and Berkley.

Still facing a second presidential race it remains to be seen whether he’ll continue to sacrifice more of the personal convictions he intoned in his speeches. These eloquent words led many people to vote for him.

Any politician who has to swing the independents and middle of the roaders to win an election, especially a reelection, has to be a pragmatist, not a purist. Obama had to distance himself from his more liberal past in order to win. I continue to think that in many ways he still believes much of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s message about the inglorious America.

When it comes to war there’s a large segment of voters who glory in the view that our country’s identity is defined by a Pax Americana that is more like Pax Romana, enforced with spears, swords and pilums, and Pax Britannica enforced by the mighty British navy. The way these empires brought peace was rarely peaceful.

When it comes to America’s 21st century wars it will be up to historians some years from now to reach a conclusion that they brought peace, and in reality stopped international terrorism, the way World War II did.

Like many Democrats, independents, and Republicans, I have my doubts about what Iraq will look like a decade from now. Like even more American of all stripes I think Afghanistan was a politician’s war, and militarily a fool’s war, from day one.

Obama is a Chicago politician who became the first black president, quite an achievement considering his thin resume. It took Richard J. Daley only two years serving as a member and then chair of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee to be elected mayor, and then a few years to not only become one of the most powerful politicians in the United States. In that way these two master politicians are alike.

However, Obama has a little thing called the Twenty-second Amendment of the Constitution which will limit his sphere of influence to eight years. To achieve what he wants to I believe he has put some moral scruples aside and made decisions based on getting reelected. I hope he’s really a bleeding heart liberal who has doused himself with styptic powder in order make the decisions that are costing American lives in Afghanistan.

More than that, after reading about the vast beyond comprehension “Hidden world, growing beyond control” in the Washinton Post (highly recommended reading), I hope that he’s up to assuring that ordinary American’s civil rights are protected from the “some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work(ing) on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.”

23 Responses to Is Obama a disgraceful two bit Chicago hack?

  1. Bogofree

    July 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Yep….he is a Chicago hack as is Daley and all the scion’s of that family. The whole thing is polls and getting their arse back in office using any political expediency they can. I have no sympathy for the Chicago machine or any other big city machine. I will refrain for making comparisons to “The Mob.”

    Obama is a product of this environment and he has almost totally disappointed me and the very last straw is his desire to up the anti in Afghanistan. Maybe some of the anti war Democrats will make their voices heard? Maybe a few gutless wonders in the Republican Party will step up front and center? I can live with Obama piling on debt, piling on bureaucracy, piling on TARP, piling on Stimulus but I cannot live with piling on bodies. Money is replaceable but the lives of our children on stupid adventurism is not.

    Nice article, Hal.

    • paulb6

      July 23, 2010 at 6:04 am

      Well Bogofree, I see that you will put up with anything except Afghanistan, this shows the lack of responsibility you feel as a liberal, spend any amount that you want for your programs, just end the war. How shallow and self serving of you, great to fit in with the dems isn’t it. I call it lack of fiscal responsibility or caring for the working man.

  2. Almandine

    July 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I must agree as to the nicety of the article. Solid, basically emotion-free, and thoughtful.

    As for 2-bit? It’s hard to decribe POTUS – any POTUS – as that, but time will tell. The war in Afghanistan is not his achilles heel, it is his alarming collectivist mindset that will probably cost him in both the short and long runs. We can only hope.

  3. Bill

    July 20, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Comparing Obama to Mayor Daley is almost as stupid as comparing him to Hitler. Say what you want about Daley, but under his reign (Yep, he was the King of Chicago, and a benevolent monarch he was!) the city ran smoothly, did not go broke, grew, became clean (he put 4 trash baskets at every intersection–and made certain that they were emptied in a timely fashion, before the trash blew all over the city) and really beautiful.
    I remember Chicago before Daley AND after Daley, RJ. Before Mayor Richard J Daley it was a dirty, smelly, graft filled dump where guys like Capone left bodies strewn around like ticker tape after a huge parade. Daley made Chicago, changed it for the better, and led it to the number two city in America. Maybe there was political theft during his terms, but he made sure that there was plenty of money left to keep the city running and running well. Yes, clout mattered, but anyone could go to their Alderman and get results even if they didn’t have clout. The people of Chicago loved Mayor Daley, and he loved them back even more. The crap that happened during the Democratic Convention was in large part because Daley could not stand to see his beloved city defaced and disgraced. When he issued the ‘Shoot to Kill’ order during the MLK riots, I think the same thing happened–he ‘lost it’ and altho he quickly rescinded the order, the words hung morbidly over his head for a long time. As far as I know, nobody was killed under that order.

    Following THE MAYOR, the pathetic Blandic, the disgusting and corrupt Washington, and Jane Byrne (plusses and minuses) managed to run down Chicago significantly, and the ascension of Richard J’s son, Richard M, turned things upward and onward once again. Today the city is dynamic, more beautiful than ever with an ever more beautiful lakefront, Millennium Park, rooftop gardens cleaning the carbon monoxide out of the air, architecture that is without doubt the finest in America, Theater that rivals and often surpasses that in NY, and a dynamic and exciting atmosphere that pervades everything you see. Chicago, for those who really know it, truly is the Number One City in America.

    Obama is a student of Jesse Jackson. He is of the same clay, the same multi-faced personality, and the same crooked nature. You must understand how these guys grew up in order to understand them, just as you should understand that a person who survived Auschwitz won’t be bound by the same humanity and morality as they believed in BEFORE they were put into the camp. The suppressive poverty of the ghetto, whether it was in Chicago or 1940 Warsaw, changes a person, and only the strongest survive. Bush was a stupid crook driven by a smart crook, Dick Cheney. Obama is stepping to the music of his own drummer, but Jesse Jackson wrote the music. What will emerge from his mouth is a combination of truths and lies constructed to achieve his goals. He is first and foremost a politician, and his pockets need to be very full before he lets the dregs trickle down to the public. He is smart, very smart, and will push a health care bill that will eventually help all the people, but first will enrich Barack Hussein Obama.

    Whether he is a muslim, a native born American, or anything else is really unimportant now. He IS the President, and will probably be elected for another term. People are too lazy to find a good, honest, smart, competent person to sit in the Oval Office. Obama got elected on a lie that he would give us change. Unfortunately, that may be all that remains after Bush, Cheney, and now BHO get done looting the treasury. Nickles, dimes, and a few quarters…
    If you go to Chicago today

    • Howard Hirsch, Esq.

      July 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      The powers that be (and that is NOT the government) doesn’t want “a good, honest, smart, competent person to sit in the Oval Office”. That kind of person can’t be manipulated, cowed or frightened into doing their bidding. But wouldn’t it be refreshing? The good ones get assasinated.

      “You go along you get things done”. Sorry but “going along” is betraying your core beliefs to compromise your beliefs. We’ve tried that already many times and what has it gotten us. Why are people so afraid of honesty? (That was a rhetorical question by the way).

  4. Bogofree

    July 20, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Daley kept the streets clean and Mussolini made the trains run on time. Unfair comparison to a fascist? Maybe….but Daley was a big city boss and with it went all the controls from the Mayor’s office down to ward bosses and right down to the party regulars. You go along you get things done. It is the way of “business” in government and IMO Daley personified that whole process I consider repulsive. I remember the old Rodney Dangerfield line “I was 15 when I realized the cops also got paid by the city.” I may be enough of a realist to understand that is the process but it doesn’t mean I have to accept it or justify it. It is called “Crook County” for a reason.

    The 1968 convention showed his true colors. This was an outrage and it was a police riot inspired by the rhetoric of the mayor. Daley eventually became an outsider in the Democratic Party thanks to that action.

    Now for Chicago itself. Number two city? My assumption is NYC is #1. It is not. I’d have NYC way down on my list. Chicago is far above NYC. My wife and I are Chicago regulars who visit twice a year or even more. We usually stay at the Allegro in the Theater District just a bit away from City Hall and the Daley Center. It is a wonderful and vibrant city and with each visit we discover a new neighborhood to explore. So if Daley contributed to making it the city it is today my Red Sox hat is tipped to him. I just care not to do an ends justifies the means.

  5. woody188

    July 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    It’s a good article Hal, but I won’t accept assurances from a known liar. They need to repeal the PATRIOT Act, end torture and warrant-less wire-tapping, halt rendition and assassination via Predator drone, re-instate habeas corpus, fair and speedy trials, and allow the opportunity for the accused to face their accuser before I’ll believe they are serious about protecting our rights given to us by our Creator.

    But to really impress me, they need to come clean with the truth on what happened on 9-11, how Cheney ordered the military stand down, and how it was used to invade a country that never attacked us. How the War on Terror is an endless war based on lies used to invade and tame a region of the world thought impossible to tame. And to top it off, end the other endless war, the War on Drugs, by decriminalizing and regulating/taxing drugs like alcohol and cigarettes are taxed and regulated. And while we are at it, end trading with nations that suppress the rights we espouse like China, India, and Saudi Arabia until they free their people with the same equal rights we demand.

    These are sure-fire ideas to fixing this nation and making the world stronger and more free. There wouldn’t be any place left for tyranny, oppression, and slavery. And that’s why we’ll never see them happen until us common folks band together and make it happen. We can’t make it here?

    We can’t afford not to make it here anymore!

    • Howard Hirsch, Esq.

      July 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      The way to bring jobs back is to tax the bejesus out of corporations who took those jobs and shipped them out of the country. Did people forget outsourcing?

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    July 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    You’re right, Obama IS a hybrid. He represents the WORST of both parties. War-crazed, surveillance crazed, torture and prison camp, big-business ass kissing, anti-worker. The best the GOP has to offer. But when it comes to spending money we don’t have and using government power (albeit to help the mob) he makes any Democrat blush. And don’t even get me started on the mobsters he has working for him that make Daley’s machine look like choirboys.

  7. Jim C

    July 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    No , I’m afraid Obama is simply a phony and a corporatist . If he were a pragmatist as you believe why did he surround himself with corporatist hacks as soon as he got into office ? That isn’t a pragmatic move , it’s bait and switch . I’m rather certain I wasn’t the only one who had a WTF moment when he started putting together his cabinet , not a liberal in sight . He jettisoned all of the liberals and immediately inexplicably began started putting the likes of Emanuel , Geithner , Summers etc in top positions . He looks for any way he can find to cave to the might of a rather weak minority , refuses to put pressure on anyone except liberals and insists that only watered down right wing policies can be enacted . He occasionally tosses a bone to his dissed liberal base , but only on social matters that the corporate boys really don’t care about one way or the other . His Supreme court picks are middle of the road at best and are moving the court further to the right , I kind of suspect that Kagan may turn out to be the sixth conservative vote on matters that concern the moneyed interests ( I hope I’m wrong ) but we shall see . Where has he let us down ? Pick a policy . So , no Hal , I don’t for a minute think Obama is a pragmatist . He’s just another right wing tool that somehow seems to still have a lot of people fooled , many liberals just can’t seem to come to grips with the fact we’ve been had .

  8. Almandine

    July 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Got a question Jim… What’s the difference between a liberal and a collectivist?

    • griff

      July 23, 2010 at 6:26 am

      Five letters.

    • Jim

      July 23, 2010 at 11:32 pm

      Since you apparently don’t have a dictionary , though I have no idea what it has to do with my post , unless you really believe that Obama is some kind of liberal. And Griff , did you have a point , or just a spare minute and happened to be on line ? I can only guess that you are just fine with the aristocracy we are drifting towards and have a certain disdain for liberals . Who by the way are responsible for every protection you have from your would be corporate lords , but hey , I suppose there are some who yearn for the days when you had the freedom to be worked to death to serve the upper classes . Put down the Ayn Rand or whatever you’re reading and study some history . You also no doubt realize that United States is one of the bottom three countries when it comes to the disparity between the top 1% and everybody else , not a recipe for a thriving middle class , much less a democracy . Here’s your definitions , next time Google it yourself , or just buy a dictionary . Oh , I won’t be responding to whatever scintilating and sentient retorts you two come up with . I am going to visit my right wing , tea partying jeweler brother and the rest of my half hard core right wing , half liberal family in Florida for a couple of weeks . My CEO sister is even flying in from Dallas , our get togethers are always interesting . I just didn’t want you to think I ducked out , here’s the definitions you apparently needed .
        [lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl] Show IPA
      –adjective
      1.
      favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
      2.
      (often initial capital letter)noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
      3.
      of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
      4.
      favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
      5.
      favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression:a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
      6.
      of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
      7.
      free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant:a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
      8.
      open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
      9.
      characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts:a liberal donor.
      10.
      given freely or abundantly; generous:a liberal donation.
      11.
      not strict or rigorous; free; not literal:a liberal interpretation of a rule.
      12.
      of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
      13.
      of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.
      –noun
      14.
      a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.
      n.
      collectivism – The principles or system of ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively, usually under the supervision of a government.

      • griff

        July 26, 2010 at 8:32 am

        Too bad that definition doesn’t quite fit in with todays’ modern “liberals” or their supposed champions in the Democrat party. Study some history, indeed! Worthwhile advice – I hope you’ll take it.

        Just because they call themselves liberals doesn’t make them so. Blinders on please – this is an election year..

      • Almandine

        July 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

        Yeah, that’s pretty sad Jim. You’ve offered a nineteenth century version of the social tenets of liberalism, failing to adduce the mechanism by which it all is made possible… economic freedom. It seems you wanted to imply it, by way of comparison with your focus on govt management of property under collectivism, but of course modern liberals are seizing property – both public and private – and the means of production, redistributing them as fast and as widely as has been acceptable to most folks, who have not been paying much attention to the creeping collectivism overtaking them. To call the man in the WH a corporatist – the person responsible for the now-supercharged seizure of property, companies, banks, etc – is way beyond the pale. You don’t get it. Castro and Chavez are his heroes.

        Classical liberalism is rooted in economic freedom – the ability of free men to work for and own property, free of govt seizure, allowing them to improve their lives as they choose… “Individual Choice” being the other main tenet of liberalism. Modern liberals proclaim the “right to choose,” but then try as hard as possible to limit such personal choices except for abortion, which of course is the litmus test of “progressive” thought.. One only has to scan your list above to find counterpoints to actual progressive attitudes in force today.

        But you’re right, the knaves he has surrounded himself with are those fully schooled in the art of seizure, those skilled in making arguments about how redistributing personal wealth through one scheme or another will improve the lot of us all, those with the global connections by which to dominate us more and more fully as our citizens continue to sleep. Kinda reminds me of the system in the USSR, in which the rulers were powerful enough to be openly corrupt and the people had no recourse. Communism with the big “C”, not just a bunch of communist wannabes who haven’t made it yet.

        At least it sounds like your brother woke up.

        • griff

          July 27, 2010 at 10:14 am

          “A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it’s going to get.” – Ian Williams Goddard

  9. Stratocaster

    July 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Apparently, this is the man Obama pretended to be.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Douglas

    Mr. Obama, you are no Paul Douglass.

  10. jim0001

    July 27, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Except Barrack Hussein Obama did not serve in the military…..

  11. Lillibet

    July 28, 2010 at 8:50 am

    The problem is not that Obama is a hack, it is that he hasn’t figured out how to deliver on a single campaign promise. His presidency to date is the most disappointing reflection of politicians saying anything to get into office, and then delivering precisely what the opposition would have delivered had they remained in office. And yes, I do mean ‘remained in office’.

    After all, POTUS is not a single person in today’s government. It is a team that is headed by the COO Rahm, along with the Cabinet, their COO’s and so on. And, unlike Chicago politics, the non-delivery is what is troubling about the Obama presidency. Even Michael Bilandic, the appointee mayor, knew he had to deliver on some of the promises or he’d be pilloried or worse.

    Chicago is the land where politics ain’t beanbag, and we don’t accept ‘non-delivery’ either.

    The only thing we can see from here that is ‘change’ from this President is that the whole promise of the campaign has changed from what it was to what it would have been under Republican leadership.

    This also is not surprising in that Republicans and Democrats are merely different faces for the same thing. Window dressing or whatever you want to call it, we’re here in the same mess we have been in since the last, somewhat independent President was elected and then executed. What we need to do is get rid of the promisers and bring in an entirely new government, made from no one that is either nominally or otherwise connected with either of the two major parties in government. That is, we need real change.

    Two bit hack? No, not at all.

    If he were really a Chicago politician, we’d see real delivery on health care with a public option, real delivery on closing prisons for alleged bad guys wherever those black places are hidden, real reduction in the wars that are sapping us of treasure and our precious young soldiers, and real action in the Gulf to prevent more damage from the supposed “containment and dispersants” than the original spill would have caused if it had been contained form the get-go.

    Unfortunately, all we got was ‘change” in an abstract promise, not change delivered for the benefit of the people, as in “We the People”.

  12. Almandine

    July 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    “Two bit hack? No, not at all.

    If he were really a Chicago politician, we’d see real delivery on health care with a public option, real delivery on closing prisons for alleged bad guys wherever those black places are hidden, real reduction in the wars that are sapping us of treasure and our precious young soldiers, and real action in the Gulf to prevent more damage from the supposed “containment and dispersants” than the original spill would have caused if it had been contained form the get-go. ”

    I think you just made the dissonant case that he IS a 2-bit hack!

  13. jim0001

    July 29, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    I think “lying two bit hack” is too harsh and very, very politically incorrect. Lets be gentile here and call him a lying SOB.

  14. Bogofree

    July 30, 2010 at 7:57 am

    With his “recovery” package and the crushing debt in store …oh…and the potential hyper inflation maybe I should have written six-bit hack?

  15. wojinsky

    August 1, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Not any different that George Bush, his father, and the Clintons. There really isn’t much different from the current administration and most of the previous administrations. I think most presidents come into office meaning to do what they feel is the right thing, but since WE citizens cannot agree on what is right and what is wrong, WE get angry that our voices aren’t being listened to.

    I think we have to go wayyyy back to FDR to find the last great president; someone who gave a damn for the common person, started a host of social programs that we rely on to this day, and was able to help the U.S. fight a success war abroad that also helped to stimulate the economy out of the Great Depression. So why aren’t the two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) that George Bush stupidly got us into and that Obama is also flubbing trying to get us out of George Bush’s stupidity, driving our economy? Because corporations that benefit from war $$$$ outsource their jobs to where it is cheapest.

    Idiots. Time to leave the U.S.?