Blagojevich, Obama, And The Diversity–Fueled "Chicago Way"

With the unveiling last week of hilarious wiretaps of Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) trying to auction off Barack Obama's Senate seat, the eye-opening implications of the fact that the man elected to the White House on a mantra of "reform" and "change" is, in fact, a Chicago politician has finally began to dawn on the MainStream Media.

Maybe.

This scandal is of particular interest to VDARE.COM readers because immigrants and immigration policy play such a large role. For instance, the go-betweens in the alleged deal in which Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., apparently the high bidder, would raise at least $1 million for Blagojevich were members of what the Chicago Tribune calls [Blagojevich Fundraiser Held by Jackson Allies Saturday, by David Kidwell, John Chase and Dan Mihalopoulos, December 12, 2008] "the close-knit and politically active Indian business community".

Another of Blagojevich's Senator schemes has proven embarrassing to one of the strongest supporters of illegal immigration: the huge Service Employees International Union, which claims to represent unskilled workers, often illegal aliens. The SEIU is potent political force on the far left, but it curiously less potent at getting higher pay for its teeming members.

On page 60 of the criminal complaint:

"ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, 'I want to make money.' During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH, HARRIS, and Advisor B discussed the prospect of working a three-way deal for the open Senate seat. HARRIS noted that ROD BLAGOJEVICH is interested in taking a high-paying position with an organization called 'Change to Win,' which is connected to Service Employees International Union ('SEIU'). HARRIS suggested that SEIU Official make ROD BLAGOJEVICH the head of Change to Win and, in exchange, the President-elect could help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level."

In other words, in this scenario, Blagojevich, who has apparently been under financial stress ever since his Lady Macbeth-type wife had to give up her job as a real estate agent / bagwoman because most of her commissions were barely disguised bribes for her husband, would promise to resign as governor. Obama would lean on his friends in the SEIU to give the disgraced governor a job paying $250-300,000 pushing SEIU's agenda (which includes amnesty). Before moving on, Blago would appoint to the U.S. Senate Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama's old boss when she worked for the Daley Machine.

Tom Balanoff, head of the janitors' local in Chicago and a close ally of Obama, evidently conveyed Blagojevich's brainstorm to the Obama camp.

President Andy Stern's corrupt SEIU is less a union that battles for higher wages for its members than a front for the Open Borders lobby pushing for higher immigration. Wages are ultimately determined by supply and demand, which is why Cesar Chavez, during his prime, ruthlessly fought against illegal immigration in order to keep the supply of labor down and the price of labor for his members up. But, in contrast, Stern's strategy is to maximize the number of unskilled service workers paying dues into his union at the expense of his members' wages. Much of his energies go toward promoting leftist political victories rather than getting higher pay for his workers.

Obama isn't at all like the previous occupant of his Senate seat, Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican. Fitzgerald served only one term from 1998-2004 because he upset so many local politicians by bringing to town federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), who has now arrested the last two (2!) governors. Instead, Obama played ball with Illinois politics' rich array of colorful characters, such as Blagojevich, Tony Rezko, Richie Daley, Emil Jones, and Rahm Emanuel.

Despite Obama's initial equivocations, it turns out that he had indeed been discussing the Senate seat with Blagojevich through his new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel—an energetic, patriotic fellow who had responded to his nation being in peril during the 1991 Gulf War by rushing off to serve as a volunteer at an army base … an Israeli army base.

Seen up-close, Chicago politics resembles a bizarrely intricate multi-generational soap opera.

Obama and Blagojevich have long been allies, but never have been particularly friendly, coming as they do from very different ethnic bases. They do have a close friend in common: Tony Rezko, the Syrian immigrant operator whom Patrick Fitzgerald sent to jail earlier this year.

Even though Fat Tony is neither black nor Muslim, he got his start in Chicago's big time as the business manager for Black Muslim interests, including running the career of boxer Muhammad Ali. Rezko went on fraudulently to win numerous affirmative action set-aside contracts using Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad's son Jabir as his minority frontman.

Rezko, always on the lookout for up-and-coming black political talent, began recruiting Obama in 1990. In 2003, Obama, the new chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee, may have repaid Rezko's favors (such as $250,000 in fundraising) by recommending to the floor SB 1332, which, in effect, gave Rezko corrupt control over who got to build hospitals in Illinois.

In turn, that may help explain why Obama brought the notorious Rezko into the deal to buy Obama's mansion in June 2005—and why Rezko paid full price while Obama got a $300,000 discount.

(By the standards of Russia or Mexico, these Chicago sums may seem paltry. But that's how the game has been played in the Windy City ever since the first Mayor Daley put Democratic Machine corruption on a sustainable basis in the 1950s. The rakeoffs must be small enough and boring enough that they engender cynicism among the public rather than outrage.)

"Who sent you?" is the classic question in Chicago politics. And the answers can go back a generation.

Blagojevich, for example, owes his political career to marrying the foul-mouthed daughter of Richard Mell, a powerful Chicago alderman. During the notorious "Council Wars" of the mid-1980s, between Fast Eddie Vrdolyak's white majority of aldermen and Obama's idol, the black mayor (and former jailbird) Harold Washington, Mell initially sided with the majority.

Obama chose to move to Chicago during the Council Wars in part because he was tired of living in places without enough overt black-white conflict to suit his tastes.

Then the political winds shifted in Washington's favor.  Mell abandoned Vrdolyak and led a minority of the white aldermen into an alliance with the mayor. But shortly after the 284-pound Washington's triumphant re-election in 1987, he died of a heart attack. This opened the door for the coronation of the Promised Prince, Richard M. Daley, son of the late six-term mayor Richard J. Daley, as Mayor-for-Life. (Assuming, of course, that Richie has the good sense to drop dead before Fitzgerald gets him).

The Daley Dynasty's grasp on the mayor's office has frustrated both Alderman Mell, now Richie's leading white critic on the city council, and Barack Obama. The president of the Harvard Law Review had baffled his friends in Cambridge by insisting that he would pass up all the glittering job offers he was receiving to return to the political trenches in Chicago and avenge Harold Washington by getting himself elected mayor of Chicago.

Why mayor of Chicago? Because that job gives you what Obama has always lusted after: power. By my count, the word "power" or its variants appears 82 times in Dreams from My Father, his autobiography devoted to his 25-year struggle to prove he was "black enough" to fulfill his father's dreams becoming a leader of the black race.

But Obama's attempt to follow Harold Washington's career path—state legislature to House of Representatives to mayoralty—was derailed in 2000. Obama was beaten two-to-one in the Democratic House primary by a former Black Panther. Although Obama carried the white vote in his district, black voters didn't find Obama black enough. Apparently not enough of them had made it all the way through the 460 pages of Dreams from My Father to the happy conclusion where Obama decides that, yes, he is black enough.

Obama went into a long depression following the rejection of his "racial credentials" by authentic African-Americans. After recovering, he launched himself on a new career—as the black candidate who tells whites what they want to hear.

At the same time, Blagojevich set off to get himself elected Governor of Illinois as a "reformer" promising "change". In 2002, he replaced Republican George Ryan (whom Fitzgerald later sent to prison). Blago immediately turned much of the state's governance over to Rezko, justifying letting Rezko staff his administration on grounds of … diversity!

Blago said he sought Fat Tony's

"advice on recommendations for agency directors … [because] he was able to bring us people who were not part of state government before. And he has connections and roots in the African American community, and he could help us with candidates . . . because part of what we wanted to do was to have a diverse administration."

While Obama and his cronies (I haven't even gotten to Emil Jones, his godfather in the state senate) make for fascinating gossip, all this raises a more general questions: what's the deal with Chicago? Why is it so notorious for parasitical politicians?

There are two main reasons.

  • First, as Mrs. Blagojevich no doubt told her former clients in the real estate business: location, location, location.

Beginning in 1673, French fur trappers would portage their canoes about a mile through what's now suburban Chicago to get from North America's second most important watershed (the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence River) to its most important (the Mississippi River). Chicago has grown up as the natural linchpin of North America's water transport.  Moreover, because Lake Michigan extends so far south, railroad and highway routes from the Northeast to the northern Midwest and the Pacific Northwest inevitably go through the Chicago area.

More recently, the enormous expansion of O'Hare airport under the first Mayor Daley made the Chicago area an ideal home base for frequent fliers.

So Chicago is, by nature and nurture, a great location to do business. And thus it's a great place for politicians who leech off the wealth generated by businesses.

Its long history as a major immigrant gateway means that the population is greatly divided by ethnicity. As Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, perhaps the most adept statesman of the 20th Century, noted: "In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion."

The voters who comprise Chicago's various ethnic blocs know their representatives are sonsabitches. But at least they are their sonsabitches.

You let your group's veteran politicians pocket some bribes because, if you got all high and mighty and threw the bums out and replaced them with some public-spirited novices, your ethnic group would find itself despoiled by all the other ethnic groups' wily old politicians.

In summary: clearly, the Main Stream Media failed to tell us much about the real Obama.

The fact is that he's much more interesting than his canned image as the post-racial reconciler.

Not as edifying, perhaps—but interesting.

And the Obama Presidency is just going to get more and more interesting.

To learn who Obama really is, from his own words, my new book, buy my reader's guide to the President-Elect's autobiography America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance"now available in paperback!

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]