Trust me, I'm not giving the POTUS any slack. I'm still boycotting the love fest by not spending one minute of my time or one dollar of my money for campaign contributions for the Giant Presidential Mud Wrestling Marathon of 2012. However, I think given what's just broken over the wires, it's important to put things into context before the right wing hate machine goes into overdrive.
I can see the right wing spinmasters at their keyboards right now, sharpening up their punji sticks with the diatribes against Obama because of the guilty verdict delivered against Rod Blagojevich. Illinois! Most corrupt POTUS, ever !!! Of course this ignores U.S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Ronald Reagan, but we all know that GOP prezes can commit no sins. And only Democrats who're linked to whatever Mayor Daley (who I suppose was really running the country every time there was a D in the White House for the last 50 years) are guilty of the stains of corruption.
Since I'm originally a veteran of Chicago politics, I'll begin by telling you my story of volunteering for Dan Walker, who ran for Governor of Illinois in 1970. I was doing voting statistics on the South Side of Chicago, and I came upon some very curious anomalies. In some wards, there were actually more voters than there were people in the Census tracts! And turnout of registered voters historically sometimes approached 105%. Curious, indeed!
I called up Mike Royko, the famous columnist for the Daily News and Sun Times, and he just laughed. He was shocked, shocked! And then he told me that this was just the electoral landscape of the Windy City, and I might as well get used to it. Now mind you, Richard Nixon went after vote fraud in Chicago tooth and toenail, and the Windy City is a lot cleaner place these days electorally than it used to be. But I'm sure that the city of big shoulders, hog butcher to the world, still manages to hinky-dink the electoral results one way or the other from time to time. For all I know, I'm still voting the straight Democratic Party ticket (when needed) in Illinois even though I haven't lived there for 40 years.
But here's where the defense of Barack Obama comes in. Although Dan Walker went to prison after he was Governor of Illinois, the fact of the matter is, he went to prison for income tax evasion and not political corruption. One of the rules of good government politics in an Illinois, Louisiana, West Virginia, New Jersey, etc. is to vote for the guy who'll stay out of prison for the longest period of time. And in that respect, Dan Walker was the good government, clean, no-corruption guy, and for a good part of his term (at least while I was in Illinois), he did a damn good job of running a clean ship from the state capitol.
One of the ways in which the right wing hate machine twists things is that they don't want to talk about their rotten boroughs or their rotten politicians. Anyone in Illinois can tell you that the downstate Republican machine is just as corrupt as anything the Ds get.
Now, getting back to Obama, sometimes, just once in a blue moon -- a politician floats to the surface who's special, above the rest of the litter, and demonstrably superior in every way, shape, or form. The right wing can smear Obama with Tony Rezko all they want, but Rezko was Obama's neighbor, and dealing with corruption in Illinois is like breathing the air.
The main thing is, that when Obama was a state senator or a US senator, he transcended the usual humdrum bottom feeders in the system that usually define the level of politics in places like Illinois. And as far as I can determine, Obama has continued to maintain a very high standard of good government as chief administrator of the USA.
In Illinois politics as well as American government, people don't realize that in the real world, a POTUS or governor is not as much in charge of things as people imagine. For example, the US Department of Defense is an independent power in and of itself, and if you're the Commander-in-Chief, in reality this means that you don't dare go 100 feet near 95% of the balliwicks under the control of the Pentagon.
Better to let sleeping dogs lie where they are, as you never know when one of the dogs you disturb might turn out to have rabies. And so there is that policy of peaceful coexistence in American government. And we let the sleeping dogs lie, if we know what's good for us. For pure and simple survial, many times (regardless of party affiliation) it's a matter of survival and self interest not to get too curious about what might be happening in some departments of government that you supposedly control. And the media continues to spin its fairy tales. Look! Bright shiny objects! Fill in the blank for Anthony Weiner, Lindsay Lohan, or whatever.
The President of the United States does the best job he can with what he has to work with, and oftentimes the POTUS is placed into the position of First Reactor. Much of the time, places like the DOD are Johnny Carson, and the President is relegated to playing Ed McMahon.
So be aware of this when you hear F*x News go all nuclear about how horribly corrupt the Obama administration is. Having said all of this, this still doesn't mean that I'll necessarily vote for him.