The corrupt skeleton in Barack Obama’s closet

As Democratic Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama heads into two crucial big-state primaries that could seal his hold on the nomination, serious questions remain unanswered about his relationship with a Syrian-born Chicago businessman and political fixer targeted by the federal government for corruption, extortion and money laundering.

Even as he claims to represent change and campaigns as an alternative to “business as usual” politics, Obama cannot escape the fact that he is a product of old-style, corrupt Chicago politics.

Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association, an Illinois watchdog group, points to Obama’s longtime relationship with Tony Rezko, a Chicago real estate developer, fast-buck operator and backroom political kingmaker.

Obama’s close ties to Rezko raises questions over whether or not the Democrat is really a reformer.

Says Stewart:

We have a sick political culture and that’s the environment that Barack Obama came from. This wasn’t just some guy who wrote a check once for Barack Obama, it’s someone who was an early supporter and had a personal relationship with Sen. Obama for quite some time. Tony Rezko is all that is wrong with the old kind of politics or any kind of politics.

Political opponents, led by operatives for the faltering campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, have tried for months to turn Obama’s friendship with Resko into political campaign fodder but the story has lacked legs outside of Chicago.

That may be changing. Reports The Associated Press:

Only three months after former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was locked up in a federal prison camp, a new corruption case that already has dragged his successor and Barack Obama into an embarrassing spotlight is going to trial.

Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a Chicago businessman described by Hillary Rodham Clinton in a nationally televised debate as a “slum landlord” represented by Obama, is charged with using political clout to run a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme.

It’s a scheme that prosecutors say was rife with sneaky deals and strong-arm tactics, all aimed at landing millions of dollars in bogus fees from firms hoping to handle investments from a teachers’ pension fund and obscure state boards.

Rezko, one of the top fundraisers for Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is charged with money laundering, attempted extortion, fraud and aiding bribery.

Blagojevich has not been charged with wrongdoing. But two members of his inner circle are under indictment and U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve has publicly outed the governor as the anonymous “Public Official A” who appears in court papers as a beneficiary of the alleged scheme.

The former head of the Friends of Rod Blagojevich campaign fund is expected to be the government’s leadoff witness after jury selection, which begins Monday in what is expected to be a three-month trial.

Even in a state with a traditionally tolerant view of political boondoggling, there is amazement at the charges of high-level corruption so soon after Ryan and his administration collapsed in a sea of scandal. He’s serving a 61?2-year term.

“It’s stunning to me that this trial is being held at all in light of what happened to George Ryan,” said Jay Stewart, head of Chicago’s Better Government Association.

It all centers on Rezko, 52, a Syrian-born real-estate developer and fast-food tycoon who once raised thousands of dollars for both Blagojevich and Obama – much to the chagrin of both.

Sources within the Republican National Committee say presumptive GOP nominee John McCain plans to use Obama’s connection with Rezko against him if the Chicago Democrat wins the nomination. Republicans, the sources say, will try to portray Obama as bought and paid for not only by organized crime in Chicago but also by Syrians and other Arab interests.

“If Obama wins the nomination he will be portrayed as a pawn of the Arabs to gain control of the United States government,” says one well-placed Republican campaign operative. “It will be an effective message aimed at stoking American fears.”

But others in the GOP worry the plan could backfire because Republicans have also been linked to Rezko’s shady dealings.

Writes John Kass in The Chicago Tribune:

The Republican Party should be eagerly lining up for this week’s federal corruption trial in Chicago of Barack Obama’s personal real estate fairy, Tony Rezko, the way a baseball team lines up to smack fat fastballs from a tired pitcher.

But the Republicans aren’t swinging. They’re keeping their bats on their shoulders. This should concern Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who will likely face Sen. Obama (D-Rezko/Daley). As most Clinton operatives and Republicans know, Rezko is the indicted political fixer who helped Obama buy his dream house.

The sellers split the parcel in two, one a vacant lot and one with a home. Obama got a $300,000 discount on the house. The Rezkos paid the full asking price for the lot next door. Obama, who keeps insisting he’s told us everything, until something new comes out, admitted recently that he toured the home with Tony before that magical sale. So the real estate fairy sprinkles the magic fairy dust on the Obama dream home. Obama becomes the reform candidate for president, to change American politics as we know it — except of course in Chicago, where the Daley Machine runs things.

With Rezko’s jury being selected, you might think Republicans would feel some excitement running down their legs, the way liberal pundits tingle with Obamamania, or the way teenage girls respond to photographs of Justin Timberlake. Instead the Republicans are subdued. As I’ve warned before, the Rezko trial isn’t about Obama. It is about Rezko and some Democrats, like Gov. Rod “The Unreformer” Blagojevich. But it also involves Rezko and powerful Illinois Republicans with national reach.

Obama now calls his involvement with Rezko a “bone-headed mistake.” Republicans in Illinois are now scrambling to cover their butts as evidence surfaces about shady deals with Rezko. Many are worried about what one of the government’s key witness, former GOP power broker Stuart Levine, will reveal on the stand.

Notes Kass:

Levine isn’t the only Republican implicated in Operation Board Games. There’s “Co-Schemer A” — Illinois Republican boss Big Bill Cellini. He’s the Republican asphalt king, casino magnate and recipient of millions of tax dollars to finance his hotel deals and other projects, like multiple partnerships with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s favorite developer, Michael Marchese. And you thought only Chicago Democrats got fat on public money?

Cellini has not been indicted, but he has been implicated in a scheme to shake down an investment banker with Hollywood connections, and now Cellini has retained one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state.

Also mentioned is Cellini’s plump handmaiden, also known as “Individual K” in the case’s court documents, none other than Big Bob Kjellander (pronounced $hell-ander).

Kjellander, a friend of former White House adviser Karl Rove, remains a Republican National Committee bigshot who is planning the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in September.

The BGA’s Stewart says Obama shows a double standard when he rails against corruption on the campaign trail but ignores it in his home state of Illinois. After Obama, speaking at a campaign rally in Ohio, said “if you are ready for change, then we can go ahead and tell the lobbyists and the fat cats that their days are over,” Stewart told ABC News and other news outlets:

That’s a noble version he is describing. He is not talking about Illinois when he does that. I don’t begrudge him for speaking out on it (corruption) in Washington or Kenya. If it’s appropriate, you should say it. To say it’s appropriate in Illinois is a huge understatement.

The Obama campaign did not return phone calls or answer emails requesting comments on these issues.


  1. Flapsaddle

    How many ways I can say to you that I’m aware of the problem of discrimination and its many manifestations? I simply think that it is not the giant problem that you believe it to be, and I think that the primary problem will be racial discrimination in Obama’s case.

    I do not regard McCain’s age as an issue. I think that matter was resolved with the election of Reagan – the oldest man elected to date.

    Hillary Clinton has so much other baggage that the issue of the X chromosome is secondary. If gender discrimination is that overpowering, how do you explain her rise to an almost-guaranteed nomination – at least before Obama rained on her parade?

    Obama too young to be president? Ridiculous! I believe that Teddy Roosevelt and JFK were both younger than Obama when they took office.

    And a discussion of our rights and freedoms is in no way precluded by the presence of discrimination. Those things have been important since the early days of the nation – when discrimination and legal disenfranchisement based on gender, race and property ownership were the rule.

    This is the “silly season”, the zenith of American politics, and labeling is the order of the day. But it doesn’t mean that you have to fall for it. I have absolutely no trouble whatsoever sorting the wheat from the chaff without being sidetracked, and I hardly live the life of a hermit or I would not be aware of all that is actually happening.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  2. lindaj

    So Rezko was born in Syria and that’s important to the rest of the article? Important enough to mention twice? Horse pucky, just like Obama’s middle name is Hussein; as Michele said, let’s fear the name… It’s about at the same level. I agree with comments that no one’s political past is beyond reproach. I agree that if this is all true and pertinent, then it should have been reported long ago. This is a blatant attempt to affect the voting today. Horse pucky again. I guess we need a big truck and a huge shovel. LindaJ

  3. pollchecker

    “This is about Obama being exposed as less than the saint he has presented himself to be. Of course, they often say that the best defense is a good offense, so your attempt to smear Hillary Clinton and Bush to the Rezko stain is an expected tactic.”

    Apparently you only read the part you wanted to because if you had read it all (word for word) you would have noticed the following quote:

    “As I’ve warned before, the Rezko trial isn’t about Obama. It is about Rezko and some Democrats, like Gov. Rod “The Unreformer” Blagojevich. But it also involves Rezko and powerful Illinois Republicans with national reach.”

    But you didn’t because you want to make this about something that it is NOT! Therefore it is NOT I who am smearing anyone unlike you who is smearing anyone who points out the errors in the poison propaganda.

    And why is it ok for Rezko to raise over $1 MILLION dollars for Bush?

    I am keeping the perspective on where it belongs….on the facts and not the poisonous propaganda which is to be expected at this point by desperate people.

  4. SEAL

    There is a loooong ways to go to the election. Freting about this stuff now is a waste of time.

    The only reason this has come up again is because Rezko’s trial begins tomorrow.

    The voting is tuesday. Lets just hope Obama wins Ohio as well as Texas. If he does, maybe Clinton will withdraw.

  5. acf

    This is about Obama being exposed as less than the saint he has presented himself to be. Of course, they often say that the best defense is a good offense, so your attempt to smear Hillary Clinton and Bush to the Rezko stain is an expected tactic.

  6. knockknock

    Hillary said she’d throw the kitchen sink at Obama. What she actually threw was Jack Nicholson.

    Let us not forget the Clintons have a reputation of lying, one of them lying to Congress.

    If whining, weeping, and mockery are what we want in a nominee for president, we should cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.

    If a relatively unknown sliver of charisma comes along, he might well be better than Hillary. It’s funny to hear her accuse Obama of a meeting “behind closed doors” when she won’t even release her tax returns. She’s a joke … a very scary one.

    It’s not bad enough that nations are declaring war on each other in South America, that Iran and Iraq are cozying up to each other, and China is building up their military, what we really need is this nastiness in our own country.

  7. Warren

    More than reporting news. Doug does a bit more than just reporting the news, I’d bet with a sly grin on his face. He sets about rationally exploring the boundaries of issues. “Is Obama more or less corrupt than other politicians?” To the extent that the matter is discussed Doug has done well with this article.

  8. adb8917

    Doug, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and an apology. You broker an honest game here, and while there are occasions where your passion, just like ours as readers blares through the story, I don’t find the malice that inhabits many other sites.

    I also make no bones about supporting Obama, and just as the other candidate’s supporters and surrogates rise to their defense, I am happy to do so for my choice. If you read back to a couple of my other posts, you’ll find that I have been counselling a lot less vitriol directed at Senator Clinton, or for that matter Senator McCain. People who stand for the office they aspire to are given little grace, but deserve better.

    But forgive me, too, if I seem a bit gun shy. After two terms of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, The Patriot Act, and the Swift Boat Veterans; and 16 years of Fox News, Pat Robertson and Tom Delay and their ilk, I find news that is revisited and perhaps differently presented sometimes looks more like ‘spin.’

    I went looking for background on the Better Government Association of Illinois, and aside from finding out that they trace their history back to taking on Al Capone, and have had a hand in a couple of other social justice issues, the pickings were pretty slim. I’d still like to know who their operatives are, and who pays the bills.

    CHB is a good site to come to for perspective, and one I’ll continue to visit. Continue to roil the waters, sir.


  9. 33rdSt

    Unless, of course, he simply acquired real estate. In which case he already has revealed his involvement. Exactly. Hasn’t been any evidence to the contrary. So assuming this is all there is to it, how would you propose Senator Obama proves the negative (the absence of any other “involvement” to you?

  10. barak

    There is no way that a Chicago kid could rise to such heights without a lot of support from “The Man”, and while Rezko is not “THE” Man, he certainly is one of the underlings.
    Chicago is run by two separate groups, each of which has its own territory. Daley’s Group is one, and The Outfit’s Group is the other. Like Vegas, just because there is a new image it does not follow that there are new people leading. It is still “Same Old, Same Old.” When people start to realize that, as all Chicagoans do, then they will begin to understand why Chicago works so well and runs so smoothly.
    Obama is a beneficiary of the non-Daley group. He may be a Senator, but that does not mean he is clean. He is bought and paid for by Rezko’s bosses, and another proof of that is Jackson’s and Sharpton’s silence during the campaign. The Outfit does not want Obama to appear too black, so they silenced Jesse J and Al S.
    Sounds farfetched? Maybe. But then, where’s all the money coming from, and where are the two biggest Black leaders in the country? Obama may not be Italian, but He who Is is pulling his strings.

  11. Sandra Price

    ADB. I’ve been around here for a while and what Doug does is report the news. This whole Obama mess is all over the internet the paper media, the television and had he not reported it you would have blown up that Doug was playing favorites. CHB is a source of what is being reported by all the new agencies. Show me another site that shows both sides of the political craphouse.

    CHB is unique in that we can respond to these stories and it brings good debate.

  12. Janet

    Jeez – you people are like sharks circling. This is not news. And is Hillary lily white clean? Nor is Mccain. How about McCain cheating on his first wife with his second wife while the first one was quite ill? How about all the lobbyists running squeaky clean McCain’s campaign?

    Mayor Rich Daley is corrupt, but he does a great job of running Chicago, and having lived in Chicago, it’s part of his charm and it’s how things get done there.

    I think that anyone who wants to, could find skeletons in Mother Theresa’s closet.

    Besides, if this is the best they can come up with, it pales in comparison to the corruption and ethics of Bush and Cheney.

  13. Doug Thompson

    We don’t do ambush and we don’t do hatchet jobs. We apply the same yardstick to everyone and we don’t play favorites. We’ve reported on the Rezko connection before and it is news now because the trial started today. I don’t recall you griping about our stories on McCain’s past ethics problems or the current problems of the Clinton campaign.

    Nobody gets a free ride here. Nobody.

  14. jimboz

    You can dodge the situation all you want, but Obama is in a precarious position unless he reveals his involvement with Rezko. Period. You can bet that the repuglies will know exactly what his involvement was/is, and will use it any way they can to defeat Obama in the Presidential election.
    Democrats cannot let Obama blow this off.

  15. pollchecker

    “As I’ve warned before, the Rezko trial isn’t about Obama. It is about Rezko and some Democrats, like Gov. Rod “The Unreformer” Blagojevich. But it also involves Rezko and powerful Illinois Republicans with national reach.”

    A quote from the article above that sums it up in a nut shell.

  16. Sandra Price

    Are you not aware of the many Republicans who are concerned with McCain’s age? On a round table discussion on MSNBC, the panel agreed that were McCain elected, it would then be necessary to be concerned with his V.P. because he is too old for a second term.

    Hillary is a female and that is enough to lose many votes by men and even women. Obama is black and possibly too young to be President.

    Discrimination counts in every candidate’s facet of their being. All three had to determine that they are Christians. My God T.J. what does it take to make you aware of this uncomfortable problem? America has a lot of growing up to do before we can even discuss our individual rights and freedoms.

    I had no reason to believe that you are in the least concerned with discrimination. Everybody has a label which is the most discriminating thing one can do to another.

    My trying to understand the brain of a Conservative, I sat down with my best friend and threw some questions at him such as “how do we work on getting the American dollar’s value back?” and “How do we get the public schools to focus on academics again?” He yelled at me and called me a Liberal. If you don’t understand that his interpretation of Liberal is a strong negative in his own mind then you will never recognize real discrimination when you see it. We can no longer discuss politics.

    The minds of too many Americans have snapped shut when even a hint of a label appears. It used to be abortion that set off the Conservatives but now they are going for anything that can be used on a candidate or even a good friend. You must be a hermit.

    So you disagree with me? I’m shocked!

  17. Belle

    well, of course the group of St Hillary and St Bill would have to start up something like this. It will take a lot more than what I have read here to turn me off of Obama. show me a politician who has clean skirts and I will show you a dead one. The people that are already dead set against any change will lap up anything the Clinton bunch puts out. Like they never had dealings with crooks??? Give me a break!!And is in not stramge that on the day before any voting,, something comes up like this to discredit Obama? What time tonight will the old woman do her crying thing???

  18. 33rdSt

    This is a pretty typical mainstream journalism hatchet job. I am astounded, however, that it has come off the word processor of Doug Thompson, a man whose integrity and commitment to truth I have never doubted in 20 years of following his pieces. I have on occassion diasgreed with him violently (in the figurative sense only!), but I have never doubted his motivations or commitment to truth. Another one bites the dust.

  19. adb8917

    Nice bit of ambush journalism here, Doug.

    Looks like you’ve been sitting on the story for awhile and “composing” it carefully to be released at just the right time.

    Old news, already aired out, and thoroughly dissected by both the left and the right.

    I’m sure you meant for this to mean something. Care to explain?


  20. Flapsaddle

    I would not disagree with you: There is indeed discrimination of some type operating in all of our lives all of the time; however, not all of it is necessarily bad.

    But the discrimination that counts in this election – or at least in the Democratic contest for the nomination – is racial; that is what I disagreed with you about as to the extent.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  21. WWWexler

    Why is it that allegations that have already been disproven are brought up over and over again and some people mistake that to mean that “all politicians are dirty”?

    Go figure.

  22. Sandra Price

    T.J. There is discrimination in every possible place that people use to divide all of us. Racism is simply the one that pops into our minds immediately. Age is certainly up there close to the top, being a female carries with it a long list of reasons not to vote for any of them. Rush made a lovely statement that he did not want to watch any woman age in front of his eyes. I’ve heard many Conservatives claim that Hillary has PMS when her voice rises up. I’m tired of being told I could not possibly have any moral standards because I am an Atheist.

    My being 4th generation Californian has brought me a load of criticism, as everyone knows Californians are evil and wicked.

    Some candidates are too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, too old and too young and the list goes on. The average American voter is too ignorant! It is frustrating as hell to hear and read that men like Goldwater, Buckley, Perot, Dr. Paul and Harry Brown are bad for America. They are champions for individual freedoms and the voters are terrified of having to make their own decisions and choices.

    There is no perfect candidate and we are stuck with 3 of the most wishy-washy trio possible. Now that the religious right has their thumb in the pie, they are trying to pin Islam on Obama. The voters will get what they apparently want in 2008. They want the safety net placed under themselves so they never have to think about the future. I thnk this is what they envision Paradise to be. The Federal Government is their God. Oy!

  23. pollchecker

    WHY is it, ONCE AGAIN, OK for “spend and steal” Republicans to associate with somone (Rezko) and NOT OK for Dems?

    Please explain this?

    Why is it OK for Rezko to hold a million dollar fundraiser for GW’s reelection in 2004 and it’s not ok for Obama to have any tie at all to him?

    I am so sick of this double standard.

  24. jimboz

    Not only is Obama an empty suit, but he brings baggage. His involvement with Rezko is no secret, but he refuses to bring the extent out into the open. Without revealing that extent he leaves open opportunity for repuglies to bring an indictment before the election. Think of how rove gamed the system, if you think this isn’t possible.

  25. Carl Nemo

    So what do we have here…?!

    McCain is corrupt…

    Hillary is corrupt…

    Obama is corrupt…

    Guiliani, Romney and host of other dropouts are no doubt corrupt to varying degrees too.

    But, that’s who the power elite through their mainstream media sponsorship and continual “force-feeding” of corrupt pol choices down our collective throats, leaves “we the people”; ie., with no choice as usual. There’s corruption to varying degrees; but, when seriously corrupt individuals make it to the highest office of the land such as in Bush/Cheney’s case, it can have a nation-destroying effect!

    Rather than fret, then maybe those that can’t handle these heady issues stick to voting on school bond, fire protection, and port authority levies and who’s running for county,township,city commissioner, mayor etc. The higher you go concerning officeholders there’s a greater chance the individual is going to be corrupt. In theory the highest levels will always be attained by the most corrupt; ie., those individuals that reach the Whitehouse…! 😐

    Carl Nemo **==

  26. Flapsaddle

    I doubt that this is true: There is more discrimination in America than ever before.

    If there were that much discrimination – and I am assuming that you mean racial discrimination – I seriously doubt that Obama’s campaign would have gotten off of the launch pad, much less would it have achieved the levels that it has. All of the polls suggest that Obama’s support cuts across racial lines – that he appeals to white voters once presumed safely in the Clinton – or the GOP – column of support.

    True, there still is a lot of discrimination in this country, and we have seen it with Bill Clinton trying to play the race card in order to assist his wife’s campaign. We’ll see more of it, too, as attempts are made to rally the “Whites Only” crowd either in support of Clinton or in support of McCain.

    The campaign will be as most of our campaigns have been, with a large element of the politics of personal destruction; however, the current Democratic battle has demonstrated that an impressive and appealing black politician does not need to remain on the “plantation” where s/he has been expected to remain, hat in hand and standing at stirrup, and accept the orders given by “Massa”.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  27. pollchecker

    Sandra — they have no game plan but to attack.

    GOP Pollster Frank Lutz admitted a few weeks ago, that he could not tell the GOP nominee how to beat Obama.

    They certainly can’t win on foreign policy and they know it. So they have no choice but to divert the attention away from this weaknes and throw a helluva lot of mud and inuenda around.

    McCain keeps saying he wants a different type of campaign. We shall see what happens. Is now a good time to mention McCain’s connections to Jack Abramoff?

  28. Sandra Price

    In my many dealings in real estate, I never once checked out the background of my realtor. When I bought a commercial building in 1980 I used the seller’s realtor as he had a long history of dealing in downtown Cambria. He turned out not to be that honest but I checked every detail of the escrows and he did not pull a fast one on me.

    Obama wanted the property that was listed by Rezko and the property was legally purchased by Obama. Where’s the problem? He then bought the adjoining property from Rezko too. I have done this hundreds of times. But of course, I never ran for office. My Mother’s third husband was a professional gambler and when he was finally arrested, I realized that if I ever wanted to run for anything, I would be in the shadow of this man’s crimes.

    What if it was discovered that Rezko sent Bush 43’s campaign a large donation; should that have been investigated at the time?

    If Obama becomes the Dem. candidate, how far will the GOP go to incriminate Obama? I had one very close friend tell me that the GOP will never let a black man sit in the White House. I think we are dealing in partisan insanity. I mean, he is dealing with a Syrian; therefore he must be a Muslim with Al Qaeda roots. This is not America, this is the Vatican at the time of the Inquisition.

    There is more discrimination in America than ever before. How do we live with it?

  29. pollchecker

    “Has anyone considered that as long as Big Money is allowed into Politician’s Campaign Funds, we are going to have more of the same?”

    Yep and as long as we allow paid political poison on our television airwaves it will continue to be. It’s the paid TV time that costs the economy of a small country and essentially shuts out the average joe from ever competing.

  30. pollchecker

    There are not only no politically spotless people running for office, but there is no such thing as a spotless person these days either….PERIOD, end of story.

  31. txfarmer

    Has anyone considered that as long as Big Money is allowed into Politician’s Campaign Funds, we are going to have more of the same?
    The “Governor” of Texas (elected by a whopping 36% of the vote) goes to NYC to raise funds. Why on Earth would anybody in NY give a Texan money for a race that does not involve them in any manner? Why would he ask?
    What would be wrong with a law requiring a donor to be eligible to vote for a candidate and then limit the money to $2,000. With real penalties for those who don’t follow the law.
    That would eliminate the lobbyist’s, Union’s, Corporation’s and the infamous 527’s from influencing candidates.
    It would also limit the amount that they could spend on digging up dirt and mounting smear campaigns and just might focus them on the issues.
    Look at the ‘clean’ politician’s who have dropped out of the race because of lack of funds.
    Myself, thanks to Shrubs’ booming economy, I can’t afford $50, let alone $2,000. But I’d feel that my $50 wouldn’t be lost in a sea of $100,000 and more as is the case now.
    Until we demand a real change, not the typical Washington Insider Whitewash, we are doomed to choosing the lesser of two evils.

  32. Steve Horn

    Thanks for the laughs, guys and gals. So we’d like a spotless candidate, one who doesn’t even know what corruption is, one who has never been in contact with influence selling? If so we’d better drop that pesky age restriction and let people run for President before they turn 10.

    Be it industry or politics, non-profit or academia we’ve all had our lives “touched” by those who would sell their souls to advance their personal wealth and sphere of influence. Perhaps they’ve given you a corporate gift, internally valued at less than $25.00 but with a real/genuine retail value in the hundreds or thousands. Perhaps they’ve whispered in your ear the details of a proposal offered by the competition, which allows you to win a contract bid. Perhaps they’ve “helped” people to vote for you or influenced your vote with money, property, promise of business dealings.

    If so, then by any reasonable measure you’ve been corrupted.

    Let only the pure of heart and clean of soul run for political office and guess what? No one you’d ever vote for would run – an honest candidate wouldn’t make those attractive pledges during the campaign season, they wouldn’t hold your hand and tell you all was well in the absence of proof, they wouldn’t mis-direct inconvenient questions nor would they slander and smear those who would oppose them. They’d be seen as weak. They would lose.

    I can accept a certain amount of dirt when it comes to politics, in fact, I expect it. What I apprecaited in Frank Rizzo when he was mayor of Philadelphia was that yeah, he was corrupt, but everyone knew it and in some odd way his very corruption helped the city.

    Perhaps Obama’s past will do the same for this nation –



  33. Flapsaddle

    Pretty much spot-on, Pollchecker!

    There are no politically spotless people in this campaign.

    And true of any political figure any time and any place.

    It was only a matter of time before someone started really sorting through Obama’s dirty laundry and closet full of skeletons. But he was/is the new face, the new hero, the new savior du jour, and the novelty had to wear off a bit before he could be found wanting.

    The little god tumbled, and great was his fall/because his pedestal was narrow and tall – anonymous

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  34. pollchecker

    I know it’s not politically correct, but Jesus said “let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

    There are no politically spotless people in this campaign.

    John McCain has said he wants to run a campaign about issues. We shall see. He has been around A WHOLE LOT longer than Obama, so he has a lot longer past to explain. It won’t be pretty.

    We all know about the Clinton’s polarizing past.

    This is just more entertainment news. This guy, Rezko, has been associated with every politician in Illinois and some in DC.

  35. pollchecker

    “There are pictures of Rezko and Hitlery together and so are there pictures of Rezko and Bush together.”

    Didn’t Rezko organize a million dollar fund raiser for GW in 2003?

  36. anthny

    Obama was just to clean-cut for my liking.
    Rezko is just like any slumlord, he pays the right people and gets what he wants.
    There are pictures of Rezko and Hitlery together and so are there pictures of Rezko and Bush together.And if we look a little deeper we would find McCain together kissing up to Rezko……………….

    This man is a creator of wealth………..and I wish I had some of his money and connections right now.
    I live in a hovel and worked my dumbass off trying to do the right things and be honest, what did it get me?

    “Another day older and deeper in debt”.

    Of course everybody should be laughing about now thinking this is a comedy routine. But truth is stranger than fiction.

    Life sucks and then you live……………