Sen. Barack Obama being the hometown man in a presidential election,
Chicago style politics, and analysis, plays an interesting role in this
campaign season.

First, there’s this piece from the Chicago Tribune the other day saying, okay, there’s been plenty of focus on Obama’s race.

But Americans also have never sent a Chicagoan to the
White House, and one intriguing question posed by his candidacy is
whether they are ready to now.

After all, this is a very proud city. Or….is pride the gist here?

For all his talk about change, Obama remains a product
of a Chicago and Illinois political culture renowned for corruption and
filled with characters who range from felonious to just outrageous.

The piece goes back and forth on Obama’s political relations in
Chicago, but the central point is that being a Democrat from Chicago
will figure in to the campaigning ahead.

Obama’s status as a Chicago politician carries with it
risks, said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and
Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “It is the
place to learn about politics, but it is also a running joke about the
machines of the past. That can hurt him.”

However…

David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist, has advised many
Chicago politicians, including the current mayor. He said he does not
believe a “guilt by association” strategy will work against Obama.

Axelrod, as his top strategist, has to say that. After all, he’s a big part of the association with Chicago politics.

Meanwhile, feisty Tribune columnist John Kass
comes out today with this column that tries to help readers understand
the Obama reversal on campaign finance and what it means.

So a Chicago politician tosses all his reformist talk
about adhering to publicly financed campaigns in order to keep the
cynics from our politics. Then he brushes off the $85 million in public
financing, and reaches out for all that private political cash bundled
with help from the guys behind the guys and calls it good government.

It’s the Chicago Way. I’ve been telling you for almost two years that Chicago isn’t Camelot. Do you believe me now?

Yes, but it’s got a style – and plenty of movies – of its own. Which is playing right now, in fact.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....