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Monday, 19 January 2009


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"From my position of deep ignorance, I will hazard a guess or two. Every American president is tremendously patriotic"

Wrong. Investigate O's connections to "militant" (unrepentant domestic terrorist actually) Bill Ayres (and his views) and note that his career was launched in Bill's living room. Or the opinions of his former pastor ("God Damn America"). Or his wife's view of America (here for example . Or google "cling to guns and religion". Or his links mentor in Hawaii and HIS views.

Yes, "state of ignorance" is a fairly accurate assessment of what you know about Obama.

David, perhaps "patriotic" was a poor choice of words. What I meant was that every American president either is, or rapidly becomes, keenly aware of national self interest, although as I said, they might wrap it up in fine, flowing humbuggery see: Pres. Wilson, passim).

Undoubtedly Obama was part of what might be called in Chicago 'radical unchic'! In other words, like Tony Blair who was a member of CND and allied to all sorts of Lefty creepies whilst he was clawing his way up, once he got where he wanted he dropped them all. I think (I hope) Obama will be the same - he certainly dropped the Reverned pretty quick.

A more intelligent Blair - yes, that's what I suspect too. But worse - at least Blair had seen the enormous and necessary (and painful) improvements that Maggie had made. O has had no-one to learn such lessons from. All he's seen recently has been the failure of the dud, but not particularly dishonest, W, and the thriving of the dud, and deeply dishonest, Slick Willie. And look at his appointments: Geithner the tax-fiddler; Summers, a man too odious even for Harvard, and craven with it; and Hellary herself. Help ma kilt!

Possibly. I have read odd accounts of personal convo's with O that suggest he is a very different person to his media personona. We'll see over time.

Well, there-in, 'DM', lies the mystery. What, if anything, in the way of a world view, lies behind the Lefty platitudes required to thrive in the Democratic Party. We don't know but we're about to find out!

You may be right, David, but I trust you won't mind if I say that I hope very much you are wrong!

I was a student in Chicago 1968-70 and, for the last 40 or so years, I've visited Chicago more or less annually. Coming from a (then) more or less politically uncorrupt UK, what surprised me in the late 60s (but much less now) was the depth of corruption of both state and municipal politics. Richard J Daley ran Chicago and ran Illinois from this power base. (It is an open secret that, but for Daley's "massaging" of the presidential votes in Illinois, Nixon would have become President in 1960.) There was no pretence. The press was silent although the major Chicago papers now and again featured political "scandals", there was no threat to Daley's power.

My Chicago friends tell me that the situation has not changed although, of course, the personalities have. This is the mire out of which Obama has emerged. With Illinois politicians (and not just Illinois ones) the default position is that they are corrupt unless they can prove the contrary. Of course, every politician - every businessman for that matter - sometimes has to associate with undesirables to get something worthwhile done and sometimes it's difficult (but not impossible) not to be defiled by touching pitch. That Obama associated with undesirables is undeniable as DN illustrates. However, to me some of the "killer" facts concerning Obama actually concern his wife. Both>she and her father benefitted from the way politics runs in Chicago. The Obama camp does not deny the facts of this reportage. They - and, of course, the BBC - just ignore them. The indirect funding of one of her well-paid jobs coincidentally with Obama's election as senator points to a willingness on Obama's part to play a corrupt system to benefit his children's mother (who did not need a payraise). But the important questions are: what else has he done? Who else has he benefitted?

Fascinating stuff, 'Bongers'. Would you allow me to publish it as a post under your nom-de-keyboard? Your particular knowledge of Chicago makes it worth a wider audience.

On the other hand, Truman emerged from the corrupt city machine of Boss Prendergast, and did pretty well as Pres; you could argue that he was the last good Democratic Pres.

Good point, 'DM', and I'm sure we'll all be curious to see the result of the injunction: 'Will the real Obama please stand up!' - assuming he ever does, of course.


"Would you allow me to publish it as a post under your nom-de-keyboard?" I'm flattered - please feel free.

BTW I agree that DM's point re Truman is a good one. However, I can't recall Truman actually being involved in what I would term the "quasi-corruption" of indirectly channelling money to his wife. Truman was the rare exception of touching pitch and not being defiled. I admire Truman. He was a truly humble man and, as DM says, probably the last good Dem president.

Alistair Cooke (in "Reporting America") contrasts Truman's farewell to the White House with the disgraceful looting and scrawling of graffiti associated with the Clintons' exit. After Eisenhower's inauguration, Mr and Mrs Truman had lunch at Dean Acheson's house in Georgetown. After lunch he left the house, made a gracious and very short speech to the small crowd outside, and was driven to the railroad station. He got on the train where he stood on the observation platform and waved to a few wellwishers as the train pulled out. However, the contrast with today shines through as Cooke tells us what was set out in Truman's diary. Truman returned to his small 2-storey house in Independence, Missouri - the only house he'd ever owned. His diary notes that "the first thing I did was to take the suitcases upstairs, like the old days". Even as I write this, it brings a lump to my throat. Those days are gone forever.

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