by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Barack Obama is the first American president from Chicago. That fact will be the trailblazing Obama’s most lasting legacy.
Chicago has long been stereotyped as a city where any-means-necessary politics have ruled, and where excess is preferable to moderation. Convicted felon Tony Rezko, leftist extremists Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger, radical Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky’s take-no-prisoners Rules for Radicals, felon and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich — all these were part of Barack Obama’s Chicago tutelage. Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel’s infamous adage — “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” — was the unofficial motto of the Obama administration’s efforts to grow government, up-regulate, and borrow immense sums — measures impossible without a climate of induced panic and fear. …
… “Chicago politics” seems a common denominator in serial scandals involving political bias, cronyism, and incompetence at the VA, IRS, DHS, ICE, NSA, Secret Service, and, most recently, Office of Personnel Management. The NSA’s monitoring of the Associated Press journalists fit perfectly the Chicago stereotype, which often involves two prime characteristics: sending a message to political opponents that the power of government can be unleashed against unwise criticism, and using off-the record understandings and under-the-table sweeteners to close a deal.
Obama has been not just voicing Chicago clichés, but apparently living them. Was it just a coincidence that, right before the 2012 election, amateur video-maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula found himself put in prison for a minor parole violation? The administration had falsely blamed Nakoula’s little-watched video — rather than an al-Qaeda affiliate and the administration’s own lax security — as the cause of the lethal attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The public shrugged at the jailing of the distasteful Nakoula, as if the hounding of an American resident on a trumped-up charge to mask the culpability of the White House were a minor affair.
Was it just a coincidence that Senator Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) in April suddenly found himself indicted by a federal attorney on three-year-old, and previously aired, charges — right after he voiced sharp criticism of the administration’s ongoing Iran deal? Was the not-so-subtle message to congressional Democrats, “Don’t buck the administration if you know what’s good for you”?