Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Six Degress of Barack Obama

Blame me for Obama Presidency
Paulie explains his role in making Barack Obama President

It's amazing how a youthful mind works. When your barely out of college, naive, energetic and determined to make your mark in the world, confronting great odds has a special appeal that is often not found in the thinking of older, pragmatic adults. As a 25 year-old political junkie, dreaming of making my passion for politics my profession, I could have never guessed my first paid political gig would have such fascinating consequences.

In 1996 Congressman Sidney Yates was the longest serving member in the House of Representatives. He was 87 years old, first elected in 1948 and had the worst attendance record of any representative in the country. Yates had become more concerned about funding the National Endowment for the Arts than helping average Americans. He was the poster-child for term limits and needed to go. Yours truly managed the campaign effort to make this happen.

We didn't.

What we did do was put the congressman in an unfamiliar position. Polling numbers had placed my candidate, Republican Joe Walsh (not the Eagles guitarist), within striking distance of Yates. In what was considered to be the safest Democratic district in the country, was no longer very safe.

We later learned that Yates had made promises to Editorial Boards and the Democratic hierarchy, that if he received their endorsement and active support, he would not run for another term. They supported him and with the help of single punch, straight Party voting (no longer available), our efforts fell short.

Now the shock wave begins.

Yates promised retirement opened the door for a hard fought primary in 1998. The Democratic machine tapped State Sen. Howard Carroll to replace Yates. However State Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Billionaire JB Pritzker, had other ideas. When it was over with, Pritzker was able to take enough votes away from Carroll, resulting in a Schakowsky win.

Without the threat posed by the Walsh campaign two years earlier, Yates would of stayed in office until his remaining days on earth. This would have permitted the political machine of Cook County to name Carroll his replacement. As a sitting congressman, he would still have his seat today. Schakowsky at best would have become Carroll's replacement in the State Senate.

As Congresswoman, Schakowsky quickly gained prominence in the Progressive movement and without a doubt is the most powerful female politician in Illinois. She brought her influence into play during the 2004 Illinois race for U.S. Senate, backing guess who...Barack Obama.

During the primary, the Democratic Machine anointed Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes to be their candidate. Unforeseen was the entrance of six additional candidates including multi-millionaire Blair Hull, who had a substantial lead headed into the final month. Accusations of abuse by Hull's ex-wife caused a stampede of voters jumping off the sinking "Hull".

As Democrats scrambled to back another candidate, the majority turned to Obama. With Schakowsky behind him, which means labor unions and powerful financial players, Obama was able to implement an extensive ground game and bombard the television airwaves during the final three weeks of the campaign. He would go on to win his bid for the U.S. Senate, handily defeating Hynes, Hull and the rest of the field.

We all know how the rest of the story plays out.

So there you have it. Your brilliant blogger, champion of limited government, defender of the free market, advocate for school choice and supporter of the war in Iraq, is responsible for Barack Obama being President of the United States.

OK, I won't go that far, but if you look at the chain of events, the degrees of separation, it's intriguing to say the least.

This posting was not written to satisfy my ego. My readers know the last thing I wanted this past November was for Barack Obama to become the next President of the United States. My purpose today is to point out something that makes our country great.

While one may not always get the results they desire, one person, a small group of dreamers or a simple idea, can change the world.

In 1996 a small group of citizens exercised their right to assemble. Their goal was to change their representation in Washington. While the change they hoped for did not happen. Their efforts brought about change they could never fathom.

Be careful what you wish for.



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