There’s a narrative in the yowling of the right wing media, a story told to convince US voters that their democratically chosen POTUS is not only not what he seems but worse than they’ve been told. Today’s fable comes from the right wing screeching squeezebox and infamous tabloid, The Washington Examiner, with the help of everyright’s foghorn of choice, Fox News.
Part of the story being told is that Obama has ties to the ‘Daley Democratic Machine’ (where have we heard that before?) and by association with the putative corruption Daley has been accused.
Mayor Richard J Daley — the last of the big city bosses — built that machine by rewarding allies with patronage positions. Today, Obama’s choice of aides suggests an unbreakable bond to that machine. Closest aide Valerie Jarrett, campaign adviser David Axelrod, and former chiefs of staff Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley all cut their political teeth in the Daley machine.
The legendary Chicago Tribune writer Mike Royko once penned this advice to mayoral candidate Richard M. Daley, the son of the big city boss: “Reward your friends and punish your enemies.” It is a phrase the president once used to describe how Latinos should think about elections.
In a 2010 interview, Obama urged Latinos to say: “We’re gonna punish our enemies and reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”
As long as you squint the right way, you can see the connection between the attitude of a supposed corrupt Chicago politician and the equivalent attitude of the president. The supposed corruption flows from Daley to Obama down two paths, one is through Obama’s choice of advisers, and the other through the similarity of the two sayings.
Apparently just working for a politician results in whatever evil that politician involves himself in, oozing into the pores, flowing to the brain and ending up controlling the minds of associates. The fact that work has been done for a multitude of other politicians, as in the case of David Axelrod, who has worked for U.S. Senator Paul Simon, Harold Washington, Dennis Archer in Detroit, Michael R. White in Cleveland, Anthony A. Williams in Washington, D.C., Lee P. Brown in Houston, and John F. Street in Philadelphia as well as Richard J Daley in Chicago and many others, makes no difference in the level of evil infecting the minds of associates.
The second path is just as tenuous (I was going to use the word odorous here). The damning text was coined in this narrative, not by that source of corruption, Richard Daley, but by a journalist talking to the Son of Evil. I did a quick Google survey of the phrase and found that it has been said by many others such as Steven J. Ybarra, JD, and Samuel Gompers, one of the leaders of the Federation of Labor back in the early 1900s. It would not be unexpected that a group of people involved in the civil rights movement in Chicago would know that particular saying, given the importance of the Federation of Labor in that movement.
The idea that Obama has somehow inherited the putative corruption of Daley through simple association and the evidence for that is an age old meme invokes the shadows of poor logic in the form of ignoring a common cause.
Here’s Obama’s use of the phrase:
“Well, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna see how well we do in this election and I think a lot of it is gonna depend on whether we still have some support not only from Democrats, but also Republicans, but they’re gonna be paying attention to this election. And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”
He used it in reference to removing people who don’t reflect similar values, through a democratic vote, something I’m sure the Republican hordes are more than willing to put into practice, and their leaders are, I’m sure, counting on them to punish the Obama administration.
There are more scraps from the Examiner’s shockingly thin fabric that I’ll tear into later, specifically the attack on Bishop Arthur Brazier, and the claim Obama favoured Blue States when it came to awarding stimulus packages.