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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama Not Guilty of "Pay for Play" the Chicago Way? Oh Really?

Obama has a history of engaging in the same wheeler dealer politics that took down his friend Gov. Blagojevitch!

Photobucket At today's news conference President Elect Obama was forced to respond to the mounting questions regarding contacts his transition team had with Obama's former longtime political friend, the disgraced Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevitch. Obama called on the Governor to resign and insisted that his staff would release records relating to any contact they may have had with Blagojevitch.

Obama's name and that of his advisers are mentioned dozens of times in the criminal complaint against Blagojevitch and it strains credulity to believe that none of the Chicago people such as incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who along with Obama worked on Blagojevitch's campaigns, had any contact with him on this important subject.

Obama went on to say that:
"There's a view of politics that says you go in for sacrifice and public service, and there's a view of politics that says this is a business, and you're wheeling and dealing, and what's in it for me."
Earlier Obama stated that the wheeling and dealing brand of politics was "a violation of everything this campaign has been about." Really? We're supposed to believe that the most massive fundraising operation of all time didn't have it's fair share of pay for play the Chicago way?

Only time will tell just how much of the $750 million Obama raised for his presidential campaign was raked in using the Chicago way. What we do know is that the convicted slum lord Tony Rezko, who was a key player in Blagojevitch's schemes (see the criminal complaint), was also intimately linked to Obama and raised funds for his campaigns. The infamous real estate deal surrounding Obama's home purchase after he became a U.S. Senator being the most obvious example of funny business. There is even a question as to whether Governor Blagojevitch's wife Patti, a real estate agent who worked for Rezko, might have had a hand in that suspicious deal.

Guilt by Participation

Our liberal friends like to point at such obvious negative connections and claim they represent nothing more than an attempt by Obama's critics to suggest guilt by association. Mention any of these Obama related scandals and they cover their ears.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John Fund draws our attention to this:

What remains to be seen is whether this episode will put an end to what Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass calls the national media's "almost willful" fantasy that Mr. Obama and Chicago's political culture have little to do with each other. Mr. Kass notes that the media devoted a lot more time and energy to investigating the inner workings of Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska, than it has looking at Mr. Obama's Chicago connections.
And yet Obama's participation in the Chicago way has already left evidence that he was no different. He may not have reached the volume of corruption that Blagojevitch did, but it would appear he know exactly how to play the game. As a U.S. Senator Obama made over $750 million in earmark spending requests. Of these, at least two directly benefited organizations to which his wife and campaign contributor had a vested interest:

In among [Obama's earmarks} was a request for $1 million in federal funding in 2006 for a new pavilion at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where his wife, Michelle Obama, was a vice president at the time.
...
That same year, Obama requested $8 million in funding for “High Explosive Air Burst Technology” made by General Dynamics, a military contractor with close ties to a major fundraiser.

Obama’s Illinois Finance Chairman, billionaire James S. Crown, a longtime Obama supporter who has raised at least $200,000 for his presidential campaign, is a director of General Dynamics, and his family has a large investment in the company. The request ultimately resulted in $1.3 million in funding for the project.
It's important to note that after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, his wife Michelle's salary at the hospital more than doubled. When asked about that, an executive at the hospital said: "she's worth her weight in gold."

The house deal and earmarks for his wife's hospital and a major fundraiser are just two examples. I invite readers to share others by leaving a comment with a link to the source.

If Obama Can't Clean UP His Own House.....

Our liberal friends are suggesting that we have to take Obama at his word that he played no part in the senate seat for sale scandal. That unquestioning attitude might have worked in the "news" media during the campaign but it won't wash now.

If Obama can't even clean up the mess in his home state what makes people think he can clean up Washington or handle difficult foreign policy challenges like the Iranians?

At some point it won't be enough to take Obama at his word. Words and speeches are fine up to a point. But when you have to produce results, a press release won't cut it!

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