Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kass on Obama.

I have decided to make it my personal mission to alert readers of this blog whenever Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes about the Obama campaign. His column in today's Trib inspired this new commitment on my part.

Kass succeeded Mike Royko as the Tribune's columnist-at-large charged with broadly assessing the Chicago scene, especially its politics. I'm a big fan. I read him every day, despite the fact that he self-identifies as a conservative Republican.

For the most part (i.e., except on abortion), he is my kind of conservative Republican. He considers the current national administration to be an incompetent, duplicitous kleptocracy (my words, not his). He is always quick to expose and ridicule hypocrisy and corruption. He speaks truth to power.

His writings about the Obama campaign are important because no one writing today knows more about the real world of Chicago and Illinois politics than Kass, and no one else presents such a finely nuanced perspective. His piece today is a good example, as he explores why some on the left feel betrayed as Obama inevitably tacks toward the center for the general election.

Kass as his jumping-off place uses Jesse Jackson's castration comment. Jackson, too, is a Chicago political figure. His son is a local Congressman who would like to inherit Obama's Senate seat. One thing you should know about Chicago politics is that the local stuff always comes first. Usually that's what Kass writes about, but presidential candidate Obama is a product of the Cook County Democratic Party machine. Whether you support him or not, that's something you should know. It doesn't mean he is Dan Rostenkowski, but it does tell you something. Read Kass, he explains it much better than I do.

I don't agree with everything Kass writes, in this column or any other, but his commentary is always worth reading. That point I will defend.

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