|Was There an Obama-Daley Deal on the Presidency?
The problem for the Mayor’s opponents was finding a candidate who could unite the fractious west and south side African Americans while pulling in a substantial number of Hispanic voters along with white, reform minded liberals along the lakefront. Such a coalition would have a chance against the Mayor’s powerbase on the southwest side where he routinely racked up 90% majorities in some wards.
With Jackson and Gutierrez out of the picture, the Mayor’s main challenger was Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court. Brown was an attractive candidate out of the reform mold, beloved of white liberals and just the sort of citywide office holder that might be able to bridge the gap between the south and west side black communities.
To be sure, Brown had an uphill battle against Daley’s huge advantage in infrastructure and fund raising. What she really needed to give her campaign a rocket powered boost was an endorsement from a major black politician being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate.
Taking no chances, Daley called Obama in for a series of meetings that lasted two months. Obama’s major problem with Daley was that he was a corrupt sonnovabith, having just seen 4 of his top aides convicted in the city’s largest patronage scandal. It seemed a given that the squeaky clean Obama would endorse the candidate promising to clean up city hall.
Then, in late December of 2007, the tumblers all clicked into place and Daley made his nearly unprecedented endorsement of Obama for president. About the same time, it was announced that his brother Bill would be going to work for the Obama campaign.
It is hard to overstate the coup Obama pulled off by getting both Daleys on his side. Bill Daley has a rolodex of Democratic contributors that could rival Hillary and Bill’s. It would be an interesting counterfactual to imagine the Obama campaign’s finances without the younger Daley.
So what did Obama promise in return?
In effect, Obama surrendered to the Machine by promising to endorse its corrupt mayor rather than his reform minded challenger (...
That’s not all. A couple of months later, Obama endorsed another crook from the Machine:
Though it didn’t make national news, Obama inflamed many residents in his old state Senate district last March when he endorsed controversial Chicago alderman Dorothy Tillman in a runoff election.
This behavior is not unusual for Obama if you examine the record. To wit:
1. His very first race for state senate, he used the time honored Machine tactic of challenging the nominating petitions of every other candidate, getting all 4 of them removed from the ballot.
2. He cultivated a relationship with the ancient President of the Illinois State Senate Emil Jones who told a colleague in 2002 after the Democrats swept into office “I’m gonna make me a senator.” Jones then proceeded to give Obama credit on the passage of 26 key legislative measures – almost all of which had been pushed by other state senators for years – thus giving Obama a record of sorts to go with all that charisma. Obama calls Jones his “political godfather.”
3. While in the Senate, Obama has had numerous opportunities to live up to his promised “post partisan” reforms and has never – repeat never – participated in any bi-partisan agreement reached by Democrats and Republicans on any issue. He has gone so far as to reject the outcomes of those compromises on immigration reform and an agreement on confirming federal judges.
4. When faced with a choice between supporting a mayoral candidate who stood for clean government and the corruption of the Chicago Machine, Obama chose old fashioned power politics.
Rare Daley move: Endorses Obama for primary