Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chicago Corruption, Pennsylvania Corruption

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, I'll be writing about the supposed need of John McCain to "shore up the conservative base." Frankly, any conservative who isn't yet backing McCain against far-left opponents (Obama and Clinton) probably needs resuscitation more than "shoring up." If McCain is to win in November, he needs -- as even Rush Limbaugh understands -- to remain . . . John McCain, an independent-mind Republican who's "nobody's boy." Currently, there are a lot more moderate Independents and moderate Democrats than there are conservatives "trying to make up their [feeble] minds." John McCain, please be yourself. In a recent Pew Research Poll, 25% of the Democrats supporting Hillary Clinton said they would consider voting for McCain if their candidate doesn't get the nomination.

Picture of Barack Obama, Tony Rezko (now being tried for political corruption and bribery), and the mock Georgian Mansion that Rezko helped his political protege Obama purchase.

I hope you'll take a look at the previous column (scroll down) regarding my home state, Pennsylvania, and its role in determining who will be the next President of the United States. I will do a lot more on Pennsylvania as we move toward the state's primary on April 22, a contest that Hillary Rodham Clinton should win handily.

I wrote about Pennsylvania's governor, one Edward Rendell, a politician so devious and corrupt that he would be right at home in Barack Obama's Chicago. Every day I learn more about Windy City politics by reading the superb Chicago Tribune reporter John Kass, who may be the world's leading expert on corruption in his city.

Two pieces by Kass that I highly recommend are his Sunday column (March 2) entitled "GOP is Caught Looking as the Rezko Trial Begins," which you can find at:,1,6062021.column. Kass points out how Republicans in Illlinois have learned well from their Democratic counterparts when it comes to corruption.

Also take a look at Kass's column today (March 6) about what he calls "The Chicago Way," which refers to the city's politicians perpetually having their hands out for bribes. Regarding Senator Obama, who probably should have kept his hands in his pockets when it came to political fixer Tony Rezko, Kass says:

"Naturally, there are some squares who don't think taxpayers should pave the Chicago Way to make it easy for Rezko to help purchase the senator's dream house in a kinky deal exposed by the Tribune and still not fully explained."

"'It's really the Old Chicago Way,'" said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. 'In the old days they would pretty much admit it up front, and now they deny it. It's essentially about power, access to government jobs, government contracts and taking care of your own.'"

In my previous column, I mentioned that Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania also has a corruption problem. In The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone notes (p. 1378) that, in 2006, "Rendell spent $740,000 (out of a total campaign expenditure of $42 million) on Election Day activities, including $450,000 cash to be handed out in [Philadelphia's] 66 wards."

I'm sure you're shocked (or not?). In other words, Rendell basically handed out bribe money to make sure he won my huge majorities in Philadelphia. But isn't that illegal? Apparently, it's not in Pennsylvania (or, for that matter, Illinois). I'm not certain how much money Rendell passed to political fixers in Pittsburgh, but I'm sure it was a tidy sum.

Rendell is a former Mayor of Philadelphia, and in his first campaign he ran as the architect of something called "The Philadelphia Miracle." In fact, Philadelphia is a "leader" among American cities in homicides and overall crime per capita, as well as in unemployment and overall misery. Its educational system is among the worst in the nation.

Apparently, the Philadelphia Miracle is the fact that the city, under Rendell's leadership, didn't fall into the Atlantic Ocean.

In many ways, Chicagoan Barack Obama should feel right at home here in the Keystone State. However, Rendell favors Hillary Clinton, and what Rendell wants he generally gets. When it comes to generating political results, Gov. Rendell pays top dollar.

Much more about PA to follow in the coming weeks . . .

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