Category Archives: chicago machine

What was wrong with Obama’s speech? Everything.

In presenting his so-called “Jobs Plan” to the Congress, President Obama was 100 percent in everything he is good at. 

1.  It was a well crafted and delivered  campaign speech — more fitting for the stomp than a joint session of the United States Congress.  There is no doubt that Obama can make a good speech.  It is hard to disagree with a lot of things he says.  However, what he does not say and what he does has little in common with his words.  This was not an exception.  It is a character trait.  He lies on a grand scale — a strategy that I suspect he learned under the tutelage of his Chicago Machine handlers.

2.  In that mode, he was naturally lacking in detail.  His repeated call for the Congress to quickly pass his self-proclaimed perfect plan before seeing if there is even a pig in the poke is outrageously arrogant.

3.  He reinforced his reputation as a strident philosophic and political partisan.  The speech was all about politics to the exclusion of economic realities.  Notice that he wants the taxpayers to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to feed money to his base, mostly the unions and government workers.  His promised assist to the millions of small businesses is a sop and any advantage will be wiped out by the negative impact of the increased debt and continuation of draconian regulations.  He is using the federal treasure and our children’s money in the hope of gaining permanent empowerment for his party and his radical left philosophy.  His unabated scheme is to make Washington and the White House more powerful at the expense of the people.

4.  He set up the same old trick that got us into this mess.   He wants to spend up to $500 billion more borrowed dollars with the claim that it is all “paid for.”  That is not just a lie, it is a dangerous and damnable lie.  According to Obama, the $500 billion will come from cuts in the envisioned increases in federal spending over the next ten years.  Under his plan, the federal budget will continue to grow, the deficit will surge to a new unfathomable level and our children and grandchildren will pay the price when the federal budget bubble bursts.  Even if he was well-intentioned, there is no way that he can guarantee that future congresses will follow through on even the cuts in proposed new spending.

5.  He played the shop worn “bleeding heart” card.  He wants to help the elderly, and children and keep teachers in the classrooms.  He carried forward the progressives’ favorite tactics — social division, class warfare and fear-mongering.  It is easy to talk about all the good things we could do with another trillion dollars or two.  But it does not take a degree in economics (and I have one, by the way) to understand that even our best intentions and most charitable instincts have to be carried out within the limits of our resources. 

So … if Obama knows all this, and I am sure he does, why does he pursue such destructive policies.  It is obvious.  His goals and objectives are purely political and partisan.  He and his ilk want to use the financial crises and public fear to gain more power for their idea of a ruling elite.  Yet!  That’s it, folks.  Remember, it was his senior advisor, Rahm Emmanuel, who opined that “no good crisis should go to waste.”

If you want to understand the Obama game, look at it this way.  let’s say I earned only enough money to pay 52 percent of my bills, so  I borrowed 48 percent of the money from the bank– and this has been going on for years until my interest payment to the bank each month is more than all my other bills.  Even though I am not sure of my income in the next ten years, I go to the bank and ask for another huge loan on top of all that I already owe — and I promise to repay them out of the additional money I hope to make in future years.  I suspect the banker would think I was stark raving mad — and I would be.  But this is exactly the Obama jobs scam.  He expects the American public to be suckers at least one more time.

I THINK … the death of Dan Rostenkowski takes away one of the great political characters.

With the death of Dan Rostenkowski, or Rosty, as many of us knew him, a giant of a man has left the political stage. That can be said both figuratively and literally. The six foot, four inch former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee towered over most members of congress in stature and in power. He was known around the congressional campus only as “Mr. Chairman” of “THE Chairman.” Even though there are scores of members of Congress with that title, anyone who was anyone knew who “Mr. Chairman” was. That’s power.

I have known Rosty long before he was called by title only. But even in his pre-Ways and Means chairmanship days, he was a formidable member of congress. Lots of congressmen get into fights over legislation, but Rosty was one of the few that could step in and settle them.

He was an old style Chicago Machine politician, as was his father. He had a gruff ward heeler demeaner at home, but could hold his own with any President or head-of-state passing through Washington. He was a laborite, but with scores of CEO buddies.

Thought more than a 40 year association with him, there are two periods that stand out.

In the early 1980s, as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, I was leading a long and seemingly hopeless effort to save the Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. On the eve of the successful conclusion of that fight, things when off track. The developers, led by attorney and political insider, Marshall Holleb, needed an Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG). These were being held up by the Reagan Administration, specifically by then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Sam Pierce.

Since he was already a supporter of my effort – politically and financially — I traveled to Washington to seek Rosty’s help with the UDAG, After I explained the situation, Rosty asked his secretary to get Vice President George Bush on the line. Rosty made the case for the UDAG, then closed with this memorable line: “And tell the President, if he can’t give me this piddley UDAG to save the Chicago Theatre, he’ll have one pissed off chairman during the next round of tax reforms.”

The UDAG was granted, the Chicago Theatre was saved – and as a bonus I got the Vice President Bush as the headliner for my next City Club annual dinner.

A decade later, I was on opposite side of the partisan divide from Rosty, handling the congressional campaign of little-known Michael Flanagan. Mike was the David taking on the political Goliath. Even though Rosty was hammered by a serious of indictments for misusing public funds and public employees, he was considered a shoo-in. On the eve of the election, Associated Press lead off with a headline that Rosty was in a “cake walk” election. I told former WLS-TV political reporter Andy Shaw that we would take it by 10 points. No one took me serious. Flanagan won by ten.

Rosty’s defeat also exposed a bit of the unholy bipartisan central power structure in Illinois. On the morning after the election, Governor Jim Edgar hosted is traditional Republican victors breakfast. With Flanagan behind him on the stage, the Guv lamented the defeat of his “good friend” Dan Rostenkowski. But why not? Edgar was openly supporting Rosty throughout the campaign. Edgar would eventually aid and abet the return of that seat to the Democrats in the person of Rod Blagojevich, followed by Rahm Emmanual.

To the surprise of many, even after his election defeat, Rosty was as friendly to me as ever. That would seem impossible in today’s politics-as-blood-sport culture. In those days, partisanship was more like a boxing match. You were expected to fight hard to win partisan battles, but when the bell rang, the dukes were dropped and civility resumed. Rosty understand that culture, and he lived it.

For good or bad, Rostenkowski was the personification of the Chicago Machine. He was partisan. He loved “pork.” He was tough. He didn’t always play by the rules.

No matter if you were working with him, or against him, you had to love the guy. He will be missed.

Obama is no socialist

I THINK … President Obama is not a socialist.

So, stop calling him one! He is not!

He is a fascist, and about that, I am not kidding.

First you must remember that he and his cadre are products of the Illinois (nee Chicago) Machine, the “banana republic” of American politics. It is that same form of government that produced Franco Spain, Mussolini Italy, Hitler Germany and the old dictatorships of South and Central America, Illinois. Yes, Chicago is a classic dictatorship – a fascist dictatorship.

For more than two generations, we feared and loathed Communist socialism, forgetting about the fascism we crushed in Europe in World War II. Our “eternal vigilance” has been so focused on the failed, frail and fading extreme socialism that we hardly recognize the threat of fascism.

Knowing the basic distinction between the two is critical to understanding why we are not sufficiently alarmed by what is happening in Washington. Socialism means the government taking over all aspects of civic life. In socialistic society, the government owns and operates everything. Except for the most minimal human interaction, there is no private sector, no personal property, and no inalienable individual rights that trump the pseudo rights of the collective as determined by an elite minority.

Like socialism, fascism is an authoritarian and elitist doctrine (again I refer you to Chicago), but with one great difference – maybe more in appearance than reality, but significant nonetheless. In fascism, the private sector succumbs to the power of the central government, but does not lose its technical private status. The great businesses become quasi governmental entities. The business leaders become less entrepreneurs and more like bureaucrats.

We can see this in the creation of Fannie May and Freddie Mac – two “banks” that are as much public sector a private. With the passage of the so-called financial reform legislation, the small banks are put to virtually fatal competitive disadvantage, while the big banks morph into Fannie and Freddie-type institutions. The Healthcare legislations is nothing less than a “great leap forward” for government run medicine.

The co-opting of General Motors is yet another example. Unlike a loan or the bailout that was given to Chrysler a generation ago, GM comes under the management control of the federal government. Through the use of unelected “czars” and bureaucrat overlords, GM is effectively being owned and operated by the central government. Obama even talks about hiring and firing officers. Car dealerships are now doled out by liberal congressmen to friends and contributors.

There is movement toward bringing other industries under “regulatory control,” such as energy and agriculture. Among the more ominous proposals is the “bailing out” of the old media companies, such as the New York Times and the Chicago tribune. Combined with efforts to force pro government viewpoints onto the media by edict, the independence of our “free” press is significantly imperiled. You should be thinking Pravda here.

One of the reasons we are blind to fascism is that it appears to align with free market conservatism – which is totally inaccurate. When bailing out (co-opting) Wall Street, it appears that the Obama administration is siding with a conservative business community – the private sector. This is the dangerous myth. Any true conservative abhors the neo-fascists business leaders as much as anyone.

For those who take the time to notice, the current crop of business leaders are not free market zealots, but fellow travelers of the “big brother” types who now control our federal government. They are buying into the unholy partnership. Their chief mission is personal wealth, power and glory – with little regard for America’s entrepreneurial tradition and dying spirit. In short, the fanged wolf of fascism is better able to hide beneath the lamb skin of capitalism. Socialism has no disguise.

Despite their pro-big government bias, the independent trade unions will be big losers. Already, the gigantic public sector unions, such as _______ and _______, are turning into the 500 pound gorillas. The United Auto Workers are already co-opted by the GM take over. Trade unionism will survive, but only as a government agency of sorts — like those in China.

As President Lincoln once feared, we are a nation divided. The anxiety and conflict we see at the grassroots is due to the fact that we have reached the fulcrum between the dominance of individual free-market capitalism that gave America its strength and the highest standard of living in the world and fascism’s road to an oppressive central government and the eventual decline and fall of the American democracy, as we know it.

Under Obama, and the Chicago Way, we are most certainly moving swiftly toward a stronger and more dominant federal government. No sane person can auger against that. This path leads inevitably to authoritarianism. Socialism and fascism cannot prevail in a society were power is truly derived from, and exercized by, the masses.

The American fate is sealed unless this country has the strength and the understanding to not only slow down the intrusion of the federal government into all aspects of our daily lives, but to commence a rollback that will restore the powers of the several states and the municipal governments. It is there where the people have their strongest influence, and there where matters of education, welfare, police protection, etc. can be most responsively and economically managed.

If we continue to be suckered into thinking that all matters of our daily lives must be addressed by the distant federal government, we are witnessing the last days of “the great American experiment in democracy.”

>OBSERVATION: How to spell Obama? D-A-V-I-D- A-X-E-L-R-O-D

>When looking at the making of the president 2008, the most important single factor has been largely overlooked or under appreciated by the press. David Axelrod.

Sure, he has appeared on a few interview programs and taken the podium at some press conferences, but for a guy in his position, he has maintained a surprisingly low profile — at least before Election Day. That is the Axelrod style.

As political consultants in the same Chicago political arena for many years, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I have had modest association with him on various campaign trials. I have known him, and of him, since he was a reporter. We have been counterpoints on any number of talk shows. Can’t say I know him well personally, but I do know him professionally.

David is probably the most determined and aggressive political guru in America, but he has almost no desire to be a celebrity in his own right. He keeps his total focus on his clients, and he has impressive ones – Mayor Daley, Bill Clinton and a number of leading Democrat candidates across the country. He does not confuse celebrity with success, as many political advisors do.

I would argue against anyone who says that Barack Obama could have made it to the White House without David. Frankly, without David, I think Obama would still be a community-based activist. Don’t get me wrong. Obama is brilliant, articulate and ambitious, and he brings a lot of natural candidate talent to the table — but so do a lot of other people.

Obama is a great raw product, but with many distasteful features. David is the genius who could not only package and sell Obama by highlighting and playing on his strong points, but who to make the other products unpalatable by comparison.

I never thought Obama could make it to the White House without a major crises and an inept opponent (and he got both). He has run for office four times. With more ambition than brains, he took on Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush in a Democrat primary. He didn’t win against this seasoned and savvy opponent, but he did get noticed. Lowering his sights, Obama went for the Illinois State Senate. Rather than risk a competent opponent, Obama, with the help of the fabled Chicago Democrat machine, used aggressive technical challenges — and the cooperation of machine election officials — to remove all his opponents form the ballot — including the incumbent. He ran unopposed.

His jump to the U.S. Senate was a bold endeavor for a neophyte state legislator. Again, it was ambition over brains, but this time he got lucky. He signed up David Axelrod. Then he got even luckier. The hapless Illinois GOP first floundered with millionaire businessman Jack Ryan, a worthy opponent until it was revealed that he and his movie star wife (Jeri Ryan) had visited sex clubs in New York and Paris.

The Republicans, in an effort to advance their reputation as the stupid party, imported conservative gadfly Alan Keyes, a kooky black perennial presidential candidate. After only a couple undistinguished years in the Senate, Obama succumbed to the siren call of the presidency. Again it as a precocious move – challenging the all but certain nomination of Hillary Clinton. This time Obama was facing real competition, but he got lucky again. The Early primaries featured a bunch of moderate white candidates to divide up the vote – leaving Obama with a unified black/progressive core.

Once he secured the nomination, he was just another unelectable Democrat … unless … unless there was some seismic political event or the GOP opponent screwed up. Again, he was lucky. Instead of “or,” Obama got “and.” The economy tanked at just the right time – as the Republicans were experiencing the beginning of a post-election surge. AND … the Republicans offered up maverick John McCain, who proceeded to run one of the worse campaigns in American history.

But, what about David Axelrod?

NONE of this would have gotten Obama elected had it not been for the genius of Axelrod. Conversely, I am convinced David would have guided Clinton to the Oval Office had he accepted her invitation to be part of the Clinton team, as he was in the past.

No defection cost Clinton more than David Axelrod. David IS strategy. You hire him, you get the Axelrod method — and a winning one it is. The Clinton campaign should have made him an offer he could not refuse. The decision to let him go doomed her candidacy, as it turned out.

David never believed in the conventional political wisdom that you do not respond to negative attacks. In fact, David takes the position that no attack, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should go unchallenged. Without this aggressive and effective strategy of refutation, Obama’s candidacy would have sunk early on under the weight of mini-scandals, questionable associations, a cloudy, if not shady, past and a political philosophy far too liberal for mainstream America.

Rather than allow his past to be discovered by others, like his one time opponent, Jack Ryan, Obama laid out most of it in his books. As the political jargon goes, he “inoculated” against criticism. This is classic Axelrod.

David knew that to become the President, Obama had to look and sound presidential. Orating like Jesse Jackson was a kiss of death. Obama’s Harvard education and artidulation were natural tools. David created and controlled the visual and verbal imagery. He treated Obama like an actor, and he, David, would show him how to play the part of President of the United States. The clothes, the staging, the photos, the gestures, the oratory. All very carefully crafted and scripted.
Just as important as David’s craftsmanship was Obama’s willingness to stick to the script. He played the part to perfection. In an amazing turn-about, the first black candidate for the presidency actually looked, acted and sounded more presidential than the classic gray-haired white guy.

More than any consultant I know, David understands the issue of credibility. Having taught college-level course in credibility, and having invented a credibility management concept, I have always been in awe of David. He never took one of my courses, but he is a natural. He knows, that if you destroy an opponents credibility, there is nothing they can say or do to convince the public of anything.

If you look at the Obama campaign through the credibility lens, you can see how the campaign used every possible technique to strip first Hillary Clinton, then McCain, and finally the whole Republican Party, or their credibility. Every time McCain changed his mind, or said something that seemed at odds with an earlier statement, the Obama campaign trumpeted it. These “inconsistencies” were then elevated to lies. McCain lies. Palin lies. Bush lies. Lies. Lies. Lies. Republican = lies.

The success of this strategy was even more impressive since McCain came into this campaign aboard the “straight talk express.” HE was the straight talker. HE was the man good as his word. HE was the tell-it-like-it-is guy. Thanks to Axelrod, the straight talk express got derailed, and McCain limped into town with the reputation of a snake oil salesman — or more specifically, the third term of the unpopular George Bush. With the very credibility of the Repbulican brand damaged, Obama’s every word became gospel and McCain could say nothing believeable to the electorate.

David also has a great talent for generating discipline. Rarely will one see a campaign were the entire team worked so well together. Through his own example, David was able to get the team to set aside the usual political differences and prima donna attitudes and focus on two things — candidate and message.

Wherever Axelrod lands in the coming months – White House aide, outside consultant – he will play a major role in guiding the entire Democrat ship as its guru-in-chief. He will be the strategy connection between his President, the Democrat National Committee, and the Senate and house campaign committees. He will be issuing the guidelines to the state parties and candidates. David could well be the most powerful political figure in America next to President Obama. He is the personification of the Chicago machine coming to Washington. He is Karl Rove on steroids.

Just you watch.

>OBSERVATION: The Chicago-izing of America

>If elected, will Barack Obama save the Chicago Democrat machine? Duh! Of course.

The oldest and arguably most racist and corrupt political machine in American history has been showing signs of a death rattle these days. Thanks to a crusading U.S. Attorney and a growing disenchantment with the point man, Mayor Richard Daley – and the Daley clan, in general – it seems that the political institution launched in the 1930s is tottering.

Most critical has been the loss of patronage leverage. Thanks to the courts and something called the Shakman decree, the Chicago bosses can no longer use government employees as political and personal lackeys. They cannot impose the historic indentured servitude that forced underlings to work precincts and raise political dough. They can no longer safely re-sell government services for campaign contributions.

However, for many years, the law was simply ignored, and monkey business in City Hall continued as usual. That was until a one-term Republican senator, Peter Fitzgerald, refused to play go-along politics in the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney. Over the objections of the good ole boys of both parties, the Senator picked the untouchable Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation).

Now with hundreds of indictments and convictions under his belt, including one governor, a smattering of high profile influence peddlers and Mayor Daley’s closest aides, the machine mischief of the past has come to a screeching halt. In a complete reversal of polarity, the endorsement of an alderman today will most likely kill a job applicant’s potential for a city job.

In addition to the structural problem, Chicago is transforming from a “city that works” to a community beset with critical financial, social and infrastructure problems. What is knows locally as “the corruption tax” has placed Cook County and Chicago in the stratosphere of taxing municipalities. Yet, to the chagrin of the public, children still go uneducated and potholes go unfilled.

Enter President Obama. The irony in having an African-American (even half) breath life into the white-controlled political machine of Chicago is not lost on the locals. Obama would not be the first “window dressing” black political figure to provide a measure of politically correct diversity to the racist machine – gaining a personal piece of the political pie while keeping the greater black community in perma-subservient underclass status.

Despite promises to the contrary, you can rest assured that Obama will most certainly dismiss Patrick Fitzgerald and appoint a patsy recommended by Illinois’ strident partisan U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Daley, who some believe could be indicted, himself, will breath the loudest sigh of relief. Once again, the effect of reform laws and court decisions will be thwarted by lack of investigation, enforcement and prosecution.

The city’s and state’s financial problems will be provided financial opiates from the federal vault which will temporarily mask the surface symptoms of the mismanaged local economy. Obama & Co. will open the federal treasury to whatever his political padrones need. Chicago’s inefficiencies and costs of corruption will be plastered over with cold cash courtesy of the national taxpayers.

Like Lazarus, an Obama presidency could raise Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid from the dead. While there would be some entertainment value for the people of Chicago – offset by the frustrations attendant to extreme overcrowding – the real winners would be the political insiders who would not only get the best seats at every venue, but would pocket enormous amounts of money from every imaginable skim and scam.

Whatever the Chicago machine has lost in terms of the power over local patronage will be more than made up from the mother lode of jobs available on the federal payrolls. Chicago cronies and family members will be filling moving vans heading east within days of an Obama victory. At least two Cabinet positions will be handed to Chicago Democrats.

With the trifecta of Obama in the White House, Dick Durbin one step away from the top job in the Senate and Rahm Emmanuel as heir-apparent to the speakership of the U.S. House, there is no doubt that the Chicago Democrat machine will be the proverbial kid in grandpa’s candy story.

>FOOTNOTE: No criticism for Mayor Daley

>Little noted in the massive glowing coverage of the Democrat convention was a speech by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. I found his remarks memorable for only one thing he said. Referring to the overall tone of the convention, he said, “We don’t want any criticism.” That is pretty much the way he runs Chicago.

There is no doubt that the latest Daley to rule Chicago wants Barack Obama elected. Seems natural since Obama comes from Illinois. But it is more than favorite son parochialism. It is more than the advantage in procuring those federal funds that comes with having your own President. The biggest benefit, however, is the firing of that pesky reform-minded, highly effective, crusading U.S. Attorney who keeps a rather impressive “to be indicted” list — and many observers think Daley is on it, along with Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Most of the local folks, who watched Obama rise as a machine candidate, without the slightest inclination for reform, expect that once in the White House, he would drop any pretense of reform for politics the way he learned it — the Chicago way.

>FYI: Strongman form of government for Illinois?

>Some things are worth repeating. In jest, political raconteur, Dan Proft, drives home an interesting point. When you consider the corruption of those in power, and the incompetence of those in the lackluster and sometimes TOO loyal opposition, it seems a top to bottom house cleaning is in order. Dan takes the case in the other direction – admit grassroots failure, hire a despot and go golfing. (Oh! I added the photos. The outfit also comes in “short/squatty” to accommodate the typical Illinois politician. You know, in Illinois, if we say a person has “great stature,” we are speaking figuratively). Anyway, here’s Dan’s take on it.

Illinois should go to a military strongman form of government.

Instead of the pretense of representative democracy, we should submit to one of those charismatic, totalitarian dictators with the Captain Kangaroo get-up who makes people disappear.

After all, isn’t that what the “Chicago 9” are doing?

The Chicago 9 are the nine Chicago Democrats who live within about five squares miles of one another and who control more than $70 billion worth of government and more than 125,000 public sector jobs in Illinois.

[The 9: Daley, Blagojevich, (Lisa) Madigan, White, Hynes, Giannoulias, Jones, (Mike) Madigan, Stroger]It was reported last week that the Chicago 9 had made more than 6,000 private sector jobs in Illinois disappear between May and June. Only four states in the nation lost more jobs during that period.

The Chicago 9 have Illinois’ unemployment rate at a robust 6.8%, nearly 25% higher than the national average (5.5%), and at its highest point since June 1993.

As with your old school despots, the Chicago 9 are not fond of dissent and so over the last decade they have created more than 727,000 Illinois refugees who have sought sanctuary for their families and their pocketbooks in other states.

As a result of this mass exodus, Illinois will lose at least one Congressional seat after the electoral remap in 2010. I say, get rid of them all. Who needs a Congressional delegation when we could have a singular Daley or Madigan or Jones or Stroger do everyone’s thinking and deciding for them?

The Chicago 9 have also been quick to recognize that an educated populace is a dangerous populace. Thanks to an effective two-pronged approach consisting of an adroitly engineered brain drain that has made Illinois the 45th ranked state in the nation in terms of attracting college graduates combined with urban school systems run like Stalinist agrarian co-ops, the Chicago 9 have gloriously created the obedient population on which they may feast with impunity.

Give away some state jobs and a few party posts to the useful idiots; buy off the congenitally compliant corporate class with contracts and prestige appointments; and, Presto! no more need for pesky elections.

We Illinoisans have demonstrated the necessary masochistic tendencies to embrace spirit-crushing tyranny.

The last piece to the utopian puzzle is the consolidation of power by the member of the Chicago 9 who possesses the strongest patronage army and the willingness to don the silliest hat–no Generalissimo is complete without their gold-leaf-laden headwear.

It’s time to stop tinkering around with nine potentates and get serious about living our lives under the command control of the most worthy (worthy in a “might makes right” sense, of course) Chicago Democrat.

Let’s do this.

And I say … Amen!

>OBSERVATION: President Obama? I think not.

>Okay, I will risk being made the fool. I don’t think Barack Obama can win a general election, short of some catastrophic political event or campaign stupidity that would wipe out McCain. (Hmmm! Perhaps I should not be so bold in my prediction)

Obama has a powerful message, which resonates with the Democrat voters. However, his rise to front-runner status is also due to the unique demographics and sequencing of the Democrat primaries. He gains momentum, in some measure, because the early primaries were his turf to begin with, and his brand of politicking is especially effective in caucus situations. He also gained by having the “white guys” (including Hillary) divide up the white vote.

With fully one-fifth of the democrat primary voters being African-American, Obama had a solid core of dependable votes. Oh sure, there was a lot of speculation about Clinton’s potential strength in the black community – after all, she was married to the first black president according to some agonizingly twisted logic. Bottom line, black candidates generally get 70-plus percent of the black vote. Spare me the “ethnic pride” baloney that somehow does not apply to whites. At the theory goes, blacks vote FOR a black candidate out of racial pride (a good thing). Whites vote AGAINST a black candidate out of racial prejudice (a bad thing). Forget the bogus theory. It is racism, pure and simple. I won’t even buy “reverse racism,” as if it is only reactive to a more malignant white racism. A rose … is a rose … is a rose.

Some commentators note that Obama even did well in the “southern state” of South Carolina – failing to mention that the Democrat vote in the Palmetto State is 50 percent black. The also noted that he “crushed” Clinton in the District of Colombia, Maryland and Virginia. Again the black percentage is high (overwhelming in D.C.) and the high percentage of federal bureaucrats again gave Obama, as the big government programs candidate, the edge. The more liberal states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, are good ground for Obama. He gets Illinois by virtue of being a “favorite son.”

So, Obama is now the front runner. He is the glamour boy of the press. He is sold to the public in almost messianic fervor. Television opinionator Chis Mathews talks about the feeling that rises in his legs when he hears Obama speak. (Oh, the things we could say about that. Nope! Not going there. Too freaky.) Former hippie Senator and presidential candidate bad boy Gary Hart sees Obama as a transcendent personality. Maybe he meant “transcendental.” A lot of pundits, especially the far left variety, talk about Obama as an inevitability.

So, what shunt will side track Obama in his quest for the Oval Office? Just about everything.

While the sun shines brightly on Obama at the moment, Clinton can still wrestle him to a draw for elected delegates, and secure the nomination thanks to her fragile advantage with the so-called super delegates. Or, maybe she loses to the Illlinois senator because of the super delgates. Either way, it could be a Pyrrhic victory. Such a scenario would mean that Obama and Clinton will spend several months blooding up each other in a serious of primaries, while McCain stands outside the center ring goading them with verbal prods.

Then there is the messy convention fight should neither one of them seal the deal before the convention. Instead of the convention being a grand public relations launch for the Democrat nominee, viewers will watch a bitter credentials fight to restore the Michigan and Florida voting delegates stripped away by the national party for moving up their primaries. Debates will rage of the role of the super delegates. Should the simply endorse the candidate with the most popular votes or delegates (presumably Obama), or should the vote their prior commitments (presumably Clinton).

Obama will show his crass political undergarment by arguing for the endorsement of the super delegates based on democratic principles, while arguing to disenfranchise the Democrat voters in Michigan and Florida. It doesn’t wash.

To see the party which so sanctimoniously condemned the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, the entire state of Florida and half the people in America for allowing George Bush to “steal” the 2000 election shred their party over similar issues is the most entertaining of political theater. God invented irony for just such moments.

Obama could be what I like to call the “cotton candy” candidate. As delicious as it seems on first lick, by the time you get down to the paper cone, you discover that there really was not much there – and your sort of sick to your stomach from the sugar-only diet. Because of the uniqueness of his candidacy, a carefully crafted charisma, and a rather pleasant personality, Obama gets away with platitudes. Sure, he alludes to fixing everything from world poverty to my computer, but there is no substance, no detailed program and no legislative initiatives. Just nice words, well delivered. His campaign offers the “audacity of hope,” and audacious it is. The empty rhetoric will not hold up in the more intense evaluation of a general election campaign.

Primary election combatants tend to play by their version of the overly polite Marquise of Queensberry rules. This is partly due to the fact that it is a family feud. Underlying is always the understanding that unity is going to be needed after the victor is crowned. Also, candidates in a primary often represent similar views – offering up differences without distinctions. Once the General Election begins, the gloves come off and the contest is more like kick boxing. Obama is not tested for such a battle.

Because of the nature of the Democrat constituency, where all the candidates are slightly different hues of liberal, Obama’s extreme leftist record and rhetoric has not been challenged. “Too liberal” is not an effective Democrat campaign mantra. McCain will, no doubt, define Obama as far left as credibility will allow. Despite self claims to the contrary, issue by issue Obama is beached on the port side bank of the political mainstream.

Many of the tarnishes on Obama’s media buffed shining armour that have been minimized in the primary could become significant issues in the general election. Does the name Tony Rezko (right) come to mind? In all likelihood, his political padrone will be on trail during the campaign, and the Obama name will come up in testimony. There is a lot more to be said about Obama’s early rise in the thoroughly corrupt Chicago political machine. And said, it will be.

Another major obstacle on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is race. With addressing the morality of racial voting (read that “prejudice”), it is a reality. Within the Democrat party there is a pretty significant strain of racism – on both sides. Obama will receive at least 80 percent of the black vote, and that is not an outcome that can be explained by anything other than racial prejudice.

However, in the general election, a lot of those white Democrats who prefer a white candidate will be crossing over to the GOP. Since the black community is almost totally in the donkey party all the time, there is hardly a black Republican who will cross over the other way. Furthermore, blacks in the Republican party are so conservative that they will vote their philosophy a lot faster than their race. That is obvious by their very presence in the pachyderm party.

Even with the angst over McCain, those who think conservatives will let Obama be president by default (not voting) are about as silly as those Republicans who think they can appeal to the black vote based on issues. Helloooooooo! Race is the ONLY issue.

Because of party rules and skewered demographics, the Democrats are engaged in a fight between the least likely candidates to win a general election. Because the conservative vote was divided, giving the relatively unpopular McCain a plurality victory, the Republicans have all but nominated the candidate with the lesser general election appeal. This means that November will be a contest to determine who is truly the least popular of them all, with the second least popular person becoming what I predict to be a rather contoversial president.

At this moment, it appears to be McCain’s to lose. But then again, he is a Republican, a party with a long tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

>REACT: Can Obama knock off Clinton before the convention?

>With Barack Obama’s victory in the Wisconsin primary, it appears my slumber induced visions of a Clinton nomination maybe be no more than the stuff of which dreams (or nightmares) are made. I looks like Obama can not only snatch the nomination from Lady Hillary, but maybe, just maybe, lock things up before the convention. Should he win a critical number of delegates, and convince enough super delegates to endorse, he could preclude a bloody convention fight. He has the lead — and the “big mo” is definitely on his side.

An Obama candidacy makes sense. More often than not the Democrats tend to nominate their least electable candidates. I call it the “McGovern effect.” That gives the edge to Obama. More about that later.