Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Obama and Emil Jones Jr.

Emil Jones Jr., president of the Illinois senate, is a machine politician and patron of Barack Obama. Jones, 72, has the theme from "The Godfather" as his cell phone ring tone. From the article:
When Jones married a state employee, she suddenly got a 60 percent raise. His son got a state job that wasn't advertised to the public. A nephew and stepson got computer consulting jobs from a college that received a $4.5 million grant for computing needs.

He has blocked bills sponsored by legislators who challenge him, and dug up an obscure Senate rule to reverse the passage of a consumer-friendly measure opposed by electric companies that had donated to his campaign.
Essentially, the article says that Jones took high-profile legislation from those senators who had been working on it and gave it to Obama in order to raise Obama's profile. An Obama critic in the article also says that Obama voted in lockstep with the Cook County machine.

In this way, Obama reminds me a bit of Tommy Carcetti from The Wire. No matter what you say about your aspirations to new politics, or about rising above petty differences to find some new synthesis, you live in the real world in which real politics are played. Obama played very standard politics in Chicago in order to succeed.

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