The real tragedy of the New Yorker cover…Jul 23rd, 2008 | By admin | Category: Politics
Obama voted—a parliamentary error, Obama says—to block funding for a child-welfare facility in Hendon’s district. Hendon rose and criticized Obama for the vote. The two men became embroiled in a yelling match on the Senate floor that looked as if it might become physical; they were separated by Courtney Nottage, then the chief of staff for Emil Jones. Nottage led Obama off the floor to a room that legislators used to make telephone calls. “It looked like two men that were having a serious disagreement and they had walked up to one another really close,” Nottage told me. “I didn’t think anything good could come of that.”
Hendon told me, “He’s the one that got mad, because he said I embarrassed him on the Senate floor. That’s when he came over to my desk.” Before Nottage broke them up, Obama, who had learned to box from his Indonesian stepfather, supposedly told Hendon, “I’m going to kick your ass!” Hendon said, “He said something like that.”
Chicago politics is never as simple (though maybe as black & white) as national journalists want to make it. To survive and prosper, you have to carve your niche (sometimes with a bloody tool) and be prepared to make enemies out of supporters & vice versa. To rise quickly, you have to be smart enough to assess all the options, know all the players and then get the job done. You also have to be a pretty hard nosed individual.
That’s one reason why I think Senator Obama can become a great president who may be able to actually lead the country, and solve some problems we have. He probably won’t be this fantasy progressive pushover that most of the media, and conservatives think he is. Even though he wasn’t born here, he’s more 79th Street than Lake Shore Drive.
One other thing about Lizza’s piece, as somebody who was in Daley Plaza at that antiwar rally, believe me, Obama was THE STAR speaker that afternoon (regardless of what the Tribune wrote). The buzz in the crowd was all about this State Senator who could some day be President. It’s true, he made that kind of impression.