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I hear nothing but crickets

 

Before the election, it seemed that every other post on my friend-list was about Obama. How he was going to save the country, etc. etc. etc. And now that Illinois governor Rod Blagoevich is In The News because of corruption, I find the lack of "what did Obama know?" posts ... interesting. Are people afraid to speak out against him? Or is it that they don't care/don't want to know/would rather focus on his cabinet posts?

I understand that most people don't care about Illinois politics, and the only reason it's been in the national news for this long is because of the alleged wankery with the President-Elect's vacated senate seat. I get it. I would like to make a few observations. Those of us who live in Illinois know that political corruption is nothing new. (For fun, you can do a little research into President Kennedy's election and missing voting booths in Chicago.) Four of our last eight Governors have gone to jail. Blago's corruption goes waaaaay back. The feds started investigating him in 2003. I know -- I know -- that nothing right now points to Obama being involved. I ask you this: how much can you trust a politician that built his career in what is arguably the most politically corrupt state in the nation? He wasn't from here originally. He moved here to get into the political game. Why Chicago? Why Illinois?

I hope I'm wrong. Seriously, I hope Obama's clean and he can lead our nation back to greatness. And, let's face it, it'll be nice to have a President that can speak intelligently. But I just. Don't. Trust. Him.

Oh, and one other thing. Cabinet posts. Appointing the Superintendent of the Chicago public schools as Secretary of Education? Um. No. The public schools up there are a mess. (An aside: correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure Obama's kids went to private school when they lived in Chicago, so that should tell you something.) Chicago's tax rate is 10.25% for a reason. Students get paid to get good grades.

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kellymccullough
Dec. 21st, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
Well, on the cabinet appointment, I've heard nothing but good on the education appointment from the education people I spend time with through academia. Laura's a physics education researcher and her step-mother is a long time nationally awarded math teacher who's been on about a zillion educational reform boards, so I'm relatively plugged into the national education community.

As for the other: You already noted there is zero evidence pointing to Obama having any negative involvement. If anything Blago's taped comments on the subject tend to point toward quite a dislike of Obama and his refusal to have anything to do with the corruption in question. That being the case, the rest of what I've been hearing from the media on this is all guilt by association of the sort that I think has done an enormous amount of damage to American public discourse over the past twenty years.

That would be the reason you're not hearing anything more on the subjects from me--I don't see anything worth commenting on. I wouldn't have done so here had you not specifically asked. I cant say that's the reason your hearing crickets from everybody, but it seems likely that's the case for a good few Democrats.
kelly_swails
Dec. 21st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Well, on the cabinet appointment, I've heard nothing but good on the education appointment from the education people I spend time with through academia

That's good to hear. My only perspective is from a pseudo-parental standpoint; several of my coworkers have family that attend school in Chicago, and they don't have anything good to say about the system. It's good to know that from an administrator's veiwpoint the dude is favorable.

guilt by association of the sort that I think has done an enormous amount of damage to American public discourse over the past twenty years

You are wise, Y. Maybe I've lived in Illinois too long to be objective about political wankery.
kellymccullough
Dec. 21st, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
It's good to know that from an administrator's viewpoint the dude is favorable.

Yep, to be a bit more specific, the thing to look is not whether the school system there is messed up (it's a major urban system, they've all got structural problems of one sort or another). The thing to look at it whether it is less messed up then it was when the Superintendent came in and/or would it be more messed up under the control of a different Superintendent.

In general, I'm not saying much at the moment because I'm cautiously optimistic about the transition as it has gone thus far. Some appointments make me very happy, others less so. But even the one or two I'm pretty dubious on suggest to me that the man and his team are actively thinking and working to get things done in an unprecedented way. More has been done in terms of hitting the ground running, and been done earlier, and with a great deal more openness than in any transition previous to this one.

That being the case, I intend to give the Obama camp the benefit of the doubt until at least some time in May or June. Particularly since they made a lot of decisions during the course of the campaign that I thought were pretty dubious at the time but which turned out to be politically very smart. They clearly knew and processed things I didn't and that's fabulous. I love the idea of having a president who is smarter than I am and who surrounds himself with other really smart people.
kelly_swails
Dec. 21st, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of having a president who is smarter than I am and who surrounds himself with other really smart people.

Hear, hear. Most of the stuff Obama says is rational and articulated, at least when he's prepared. I think he's a pretty level-headed guy. I remain cautiously optimistic even if I'm a bit suspicious.

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