R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT

14.July.2008, 3.30 pm
Filed under: politics | Tags: , , ,

You may already have seen the New Yorker cover (at left), a brilliant piece of satire that, unfortunately, could easily be used as non-satire, hateful propaganda to smear Obama. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m sure it will be.

Anyway, inside the new edition of the New Yorker is a very long, drawn-out inspection of his years in Chicago and Illinois state politics. It’s a great read—the kind of investigative journalism that rarely is seen in these days when reporters are expected to churn out two or three various pieces of work a day—and it does serve to prove correct those who say Obama is no “change,” but in fact a typical if exceedingly bright and calculating politician

Below is my favorite part of the article, which sheds little light on Obama but provides a great portrait of town politics (small, big or otherwise). Growing up with a jailer dad (who now is deputy judge executive) in a small town, I’ve seen this kind of thing firsthand and heard it told over and over by ol’ Pops. But to apply it to a media darling like Obama (who, by the way, I’m still going to vote for) is really illuminating. (Read the full article here.)

Obama’s relations with some of his black colleagues from Chicago were dreadful from the beginning. On March 13, 1997, Obama introduced one of his first pieces of legislation, a modest bill to make a directory of community-college graduates available to local employers. There was a response from Rickey Hendon, a state senator from the West Side of Chicago who had been close to Alice Palmer. After Obama explained his bill, Hendon, who has dabbled in film and television work, earning him the nickname Hollywood, rose to ask a question, and the following exchange occurred:

HENDON: Senator, could you correctly pronounce your name for me? I’m having a little trouble with it.
OBAMA: Obama.
HENDON: Is that Irish?
OBAMA: It will be when I run countywide.
HENDON: That was a good joke, but this bill’s still going to die. This directory, would that have those 1-800 sex line numbers in this directory?
OBAMA: I apologize. I wasn’t paying Senator Hendon any attention.
HENDON: Well, clearly, as poorly as this legislation is drafted, you didn’t pay it much attention either. My question was: Are the 1-800 sex line numbers going to be in this directory?
OBAMA: Not—not—basically this idea comes out of the South Side community colleges. I don’t know what you’re doing on the West Side community colleges. But we probably won’t be including that in our directory for the students.
HENDON: . . . Let me just say this, and to the bill: I seem to remember a very lovely Senator by the name of Palmer—much easier to pronounce than Obama—and she always had cookies and nice things to say, and you don’t have anything to give us around your desk. How do you expect to get votes? And—and you don’t even wear nice perfume like Senator Palmer did. . . . I’m missing Senator Palmer because of these weak replacements with these tired bills that makes absolutely no sense. I . . . I definitely urge a No vote. Whatever your name is.


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