In a sequence of events that neatly captures the contradictions of Barack Obama’s rise through Illinois politics, a phone call he made three months ago to urge passage of a state ethics bill indirectly contributed to the downfall of a fellow Democrat he twice supported, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
Mr. Obama placed the call to his political mentor, Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois Senate. Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.
Tipped off to Mr. Blagojevich’s efforts, federal agents obtained wiretaps for his phones and eventually overheard what they say was scheming by the governor to profit from his appointment of a successor to the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama. One official whose name has long been mentioned in Chicago political circles as a potential successor is Mr. Jones, a machine politician who was viewed as a roadblock to ethics reform but is friendly with Mr. Obama.
_________________________ MACTECHubi dolor ibi digitus
It's a tangled mess here in this state. But it makes sense that Obama could take advantage of it. Imagine working in an office where no one gets along and there are two or three factions of people that like to hang out in their little corners and badmouth everyone else.
Then there is this guy who doesn't say anything about anyone. He's all about making the office a better place. You probably don't believe him, but what the hell, he's approachable at lunch and you know he won't go blabbing because he's the only one that seems to care about being professional.
That's my impression of what Barack Obama is to the Illinois Democratic Party. He was the ambitious kid who was essentially able to skip past all of the posturing and lining up and promote himself to the highest office because everyone else was busy fighting with each other. At least that's the narrative in my head. It's probably much less rosy and much more complicated.
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