Obamas' Chicago Politics: It's All About POWER (Orwells' 1984)

The Patriot PostMonday Brief August 31, 2009 Vol. 09 No. 35

THE FOUNDATION "Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be..." --John Adams

"Chicago politics is not about ideology. It is about, 'Who Gets What, When, and How,' to quote the inimitable Harold D. Laswell, one of the outstanding political theorists of the last century. The sine qua non of Chicago politics is power, getting it and keeping it. Everything else is incidental. Even corruption is a byproduct of power and is functional only if it enables you to stay in power. In Chicago politics, you don't make waves, you don't back losers, and you 'don't talk to nobody nobody sent.' Chicago politics is always about hierarchy and centralization. ... If you want to understand Obama's health care policy, you need to start where Obama starts. You need to start with Chicago. You need to look at constituent interests. Obama won in 2008 because, among other things, he mobilized the electoral periphery. He mobilized young voters and minority voters, people who traditionally had a lower probability of showing up on Election Day. Chicago politics is about mobilizing the vote. 'Vote early and often' is the city's sardonic refrain. Obama needs his newly socialized base. He needs them to keep coming to the polls. In the vein of Chicago politics, he needs to deliver benefits to them. Unrewarded, the electoral periphery will revert back to apathy. Health care is a reward to this base of people who are on the economic as well as political periphery. ... Obama understands that his objective is to provide his base with the spoils of power -- in this case insurance. ... If all that Obama wanted were to insure those who fall between the cracks, he could put them into the same wonderful program that Congress created for itself by subsidizing their premiums. This would neither require a thousand pages of legislation nor a new series of bureaucracies. But building a new power base resulting from the mobilization of the political and economic periphery requires redefining the nation's health problems as the nation's health catastrophe. Health reform is Chicago politics on a national level." --University of Cincinnati emeritus professor of political science Abraham Miller

INSIGHT "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. ... We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" --George Orwell, "1984"