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June 2, 2010 / J. Shaw

Obama's 'Chicago Way' plunders the private sector

By Micheal Barone, WExaminer

An interesting thing about Barack Obama is that he chose, on two occasions, to live in Chicago — even though he didn’t grow up there, had no family ties there, never went to school there.

It was a curious choice. Chicago has a civic culture all its own and one that is particularly insular. Family ties and personal connections are hugely important. Professionals who have lived and worked there for a quarter-century are brusquely reminded, “You’re not from here.”

Nonetheless Obama moved upward in the Chicago civic firmament with apparent ease. The community organizer joined the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in search of street credibility in the heavily black South Side. The adjunct law teacher made friends around the University of Chicago from libertarian academics to radical organizer William Ayers. The young state senator designed a new district that included the Loop and the rich folk on the Near North Side.

Obama could not have risen so far so fast without a profound understanding of the Chicago Way. And he has brought the Chicago Way to the White House.

Anyone who has spent much time in Chicago knows the city has impressive civic and business leaders, talented and cultured people who creatively support charities and the arts. But they also play team ball.

One measure of that is the $25.6 million that the 2008 Obama campaign raised from metro Chicago. An even more meaningful measure is the $5 million that Hillary Clinton’s campaign raised there — a virtual shutout in a city where the Clintons once raised huge sums. The word obviously went out: You back Barack and you don’t back Hillary.

Now the Clintons are part of the Chicago Way team. As witnessed by Bill Clinton’s willingness to dangle some sort of job to Joe Sestak to get him out of the Pennsylvania Senate race

To some it may seem anomalous that Obama, who began his Chicago career as a Saul Alinsky-type community organizer, should have taken to the Chicago Way. But Alinsky’s brand of community organizing is very Chicagocentric.

It assumes that there will always be a Machine that you can complain about and that if you make a big enough fuss it will have to respond. And that the Machine can always get more plunder from the private sector.

The problem with Obama’s Chicago Way is that Chicago isn’t America. The Chicago Way works locally because there is an America out there that ultimately pays for it. But who will pay for an America run the Chicago Way?

Read more …...washingtonexaminer.com/

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