There’s really no “new style politics” in Barack Obama’s playbook. Some of us have been saying this for months now. CNN catches on, finally, on the eve the Democratic National Committee meeting Saturday, which is scheduled to attempt to settle “the thorny issue of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at its August convention.”
At the meeting on Saturday, “party officials will have to fashion a solution that satisfies supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton and presidential nominee front-runner Sen. Barack Obama.”
But Barack Obama will no doubt be looking to play by the old style Chicago politics rule book, the one he employed in his first state Senate campaign and has been playing from ever since:
In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago’s gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.
As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.
The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.
“That was Chicago politics,” said John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist. “Knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions, destroy your enemy, right? It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996 that conflicts with his message today. He may have gotten his start registering thousands of voters. But in that first race, he made sure voters had just one choice.” […]
Kass, the Chicago Tribune columnist, said the national media are naive when it comes to Chicago politics, which is a serious business.
He said they have bought into a narrative that Obama is strictly a reformer. The truth, Kass says, is that he is a bare-knuckled politician. And using the rules to win his first office is part of who Obama is.
“It’s not the tactics of ‘let’s all people come together and put your best ideas forward and the best ideas win,’ ” Kass said. “That’s the spin; that’s in the Kool-Aid. You can have some. Any flavor. But the real deal was, get rid of Alice Palmer.
“There are those who think that registering people to vote and getting them involved in politics and then using this tactic in terms of denying Alice Palmer the right to compete, that these things are inconsistent. And guess what? They are. They are inconsistent. But that’s the politics he plays.”
Oh, just to add some icing on the cake, Pelosi and Reid have now decided to take on the roles of the enforcers: “Leaders in Congress Seek to Settle on Nominee.” Let no Superdelegate be undeclared “by this time next week,” says Harry Reid.
The Congressional leaders lack formal authority over the superdelegates, but can use strong relationships and powers of persuasion to persuade some colleagues to make a public choice.
Stay tuned as the mess is sorted out and Democracy within the Democratic Party perhaps goes up in flames…