An interesting piece published in the Willamette Week about the early career and meteoric rise of Sen. Barack Obama told through the eyes of a rising reporter coming up and working in the same district. It’s interesting because, in many ways, when we hear the media is being easier on Sen. Obama than Sen. Clinton most people tend to not agree with that assessment.
However, this article leads me to believe that may be the case. For the record, I am supporting Sen. Obama. It’s never easy to watch Sen. Clinton sabotage her own chances, but her campaign has been poorly run and if you can’t run a Democratic primary campaign how are you gonna run a country?
Anyway, to wit:
The white, race-baiting, hard-right Republican Illinois Senate Majority Leader James ?Pate? Philip was replaced by Emil Jones Jr., a gravel-voiced African-American known for chain-smoking cigarettes on the Senate floor.
Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades. He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama?s. He became Obama?s kingmaker.
Several months before Obama announced his 2004 U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city?s most popular black call-in radio program.
I called Kelley last week, and he recalled the private conversation as follows:
?He said, ?Cliff, I?m gonna make me a U.S. senator.??
?Oh, you are? Who might that be??
Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.
But that’s not all.
During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama?s stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law?including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.
Obama has spent his entire political career trying to win the next step up. Every three years, he has aspired to a more powerful political position.
He was just 35 when in 1996 he won his first bid for political office. Even many of his staunchest supporters, such as Black, still resent the strong-arm tactics Obama employed to win his seat in the Illinois Legislature.
Obama hired fellow Harvard Law alum and election law expert Thomas Johnson to challenge the nominating petitions of four other candidates, including the popular incumbent, Alice Palmer, a liberal activist who had held the seat for several years, according to an April 2007 Chicago Tribune report.
Obama found enough flaws in the petition sheets?to appear on the ballot, candidates needed 757 signatures from registered voters living within the district?to knock off all the other Democratic contenders. He won the seat unopposed.
?A close examination of Obama?s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career,? wrote Tribune political reporters David Jackson and Ray Long. ?The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.?
Read the entire profile. It’s worth it, if for nothing more than a different perspective on potentially the next President of the United States.