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Obama Thu Feb 19 2009
John Kass makes me sad. He likes to pretend he's just a common sense South Side guy, who used ta play da stickball over by dere, tellin' it how sees it. Kass is the consummate phony tough guy, a name-calling hit-and-run artist who traffics in innuendos and sloppy arguments. He thinks by inheriting the physical space, and he has inherited the wit and wisdom of Mike Royko, who never got tired of sticking his finger in the eye of local politicians. Kass takes Royko's lovable grumpiness and turns it into unfocused hatefulness, meant to appeal to a certain kind of Chicagoan (actually, mostly former Chicagoans living in the suburbs) who idealize some (non-existent) past version of the city before the lib'ruls got a hold of it.
Royko, however, wasn't hateful. The reason he mocked power politics, identity politics and inefficient bureaucracy was because they failed to help the most needy in our society ("Mary and Joe, Chicago-Style"), not because he just hated those damned lib'ruls, like Kass. Royko was a New Deal Democrat who identified with the working class, not a White Flight principessa.
To obscure his hatefulness, Kass draws hazy or nonsensical conclusions from circumstantial evidence. Let me translate that so Kass can understand it himself: He makes shit up.
First, there are two Chicago politicians who should get credit for Burris being in the Senate to embarrass everyone in Illinois. No, not just former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He appointed Burris, but that's not the whole story. I'm talking about two other Chicago pols:
President Barack Obama.
And Illinois House Speaker Michael "What Affidavit?" Madigan.
I know it is heresy to mention Obama's name here. Obama's legion of gentle Hopium eaters will become enraged, like flesh-eating zombies in a video game, and trade in their cakes of Hopium for the chance to gnaw on my rather large and meaty head.
Yes, my head is quite chunky with meat, but facts are facts. Obama was the beneficiary of Burris' lies.
Though Blagojevich appointed Burris, that was just the beginning of our descent into madness. Like I said, there are two others who deserve credit.
Obama could have demanded a special election to fill his own vacated Senate seat, the one that Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell to the highest bidder. Obama also pressured Senate leaders to seat Burris, in the hopes of ending the fiasco before his inauguration.
And, after Burris tried to fix the lie he told to Durkin in the impeachment hearing--that he had no contact about fundraising with Blagojevich people other than one aide named Lon Monk--Burris sent an affidavit to a Madigan flunky, state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Madigan), dated Feb. 4.
Currie held that affidavit in her desk, conveniently, until after Burris voted last week for the near trillion-dollar Obama pork/stimulus package. Now Madigan is demanding an investigation of possible perjury and has sent the documents to a Springfield prosecutor.
He made up a word! Porkulus! Oh, that Kass is so awesome! Stimulus + Pork = Porkulus! It's rare that a political argument is so rankly stupid that it can be mathematically disproved, but Kass amazingly manages that feat.
First, on the Kass accusatory style. Notice he says "deserve credit." What does that mean, exactly? If you're not sure, that's because it doesn't mean anything. As usual, Kass is hurling accusations without really even understanding what he's saying himself. So Blagojevich appointed Burris and Burris accepted, but Obama deserves "credit?" What does that mean? That Obama engineered it? That Obama provided the cover? That without Obama interference it wouldn't have happened? Was his participation necessary and sufficient?
No. It's just Kass' lazy way of working President Obama into the story. He tries to claim that it was Obama's "pressuring" that got Burris into the Senate, and draws the connection that Obama did it for the 60th vote he would need on the stimulus. He provides no evidence; he just states that those things are the case. Blagojevich forced the hand of lots of politicians by appointing Burris, and Burris exacerbated it by infusing race into the matter and accepting the nomination. Putting it around Obama's neck and attributing it to a (pre-inauguration) knowledge that he'd need Burris' "60th vote" is wholly unsupported by any evidence Kass offers. He made the accusation, so the burden of proof is on him, not me.
Here's the math: If Burris hadn't been in the Senate -- if we had scheduled a special election -- there would have been no need for a 60th vote. Why? Because the cloture rule is a proportion, not an integer. Of course, if Kass was more interested in "facts" than feeding hateful red meat to his fellow "anti-politics" princesses, he could have bothered to check that fact. The result, of course, would have been that 59 votes would have been needed for cloture (3/5th of 98) and the three Republican crossovers (Snowe, Specter and Collins voted with the President) would have been sufficient. Oh, and Ted Kennedy didn't vote. Zing.
But why should Kass let that stand in his way, when he thought of a simple-minded way to try to give the President a black eye and win the huzzahs of his legions of fans from Oak Lawn to Orland Park, from McHenry County to northwestern Lake County, stretching from the 7200 block of West Bryn Mawr to the 8400 block of West Bryn Mawr?
It's bad enough that Kass suffers from the chest-puffing common to all phony tough guys -- but that he can't bother to check a fact or apply a mathematical formula makes him either a dim-witted or a purposefully dissembling phony tough guy.