Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia Political Bosses

The Los Angeles Times has a story about Philadelphia politics, the traditions of machine politics, and the clash between that and the "New Politics."

Here is the link:  http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la- na-streetmoney11apr11,0,6553901.story

The basics, and I have first hand experience with this from working campaigns in Philadelphia, are simple. The campaign puts out massive money for Election Day (a State House candidate who wants the support of committee people, ward leaders, and election day workers can put out 17,000 or more JUST ON ELECTION DAY... and this is not including any staff they may have,) that money gets spread out by Ward Leaders, and Committee People who spread it around to guarantee that voters get pushed your way on Election Day. Now, the article says this is all completely legal, and on the surface it is; but make no mistakes this is only a couple steps from the direct buying of votes.

Which brings us to the Obama Campaign. They are refusing to lay out what Carol Campbell, a ward leader in Western Philadelphia, estimates would be between 400,000 and 500,000. Now I guess one school of thought would be that this kind of outlay is pocket change for the Obama campaign, and it is. But that isn't the point. The point is that Obama is refusing to play into the practice of machine politics.

I know this won't play well with the anti- Obama crowd who like to remind us all that Obama is from Chicago and thus must be the most corrupt person ever. But I think that it speaks to the true nature of his candidacy and what kind of President we could expect him to be. I, for one, am thankful that he is refusing to pay what amounts to bribes to the Philadelphia political machine. And although it is predicted in this article that many of these Obama supporting Ward Leaders and such would defect to Clinton (who would, they say, happily fork over the cash,) It is nice to see a candidate do what is right in the face of what would be politically expedient.  

Tags: 2008, corruption, GOTV, obama, Pennsylvania, president, Primary (all tags)



Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball
No one has accused Obama of being stupid; but you're now stating he's ethical because:   "I, for one, am thankful that he is refusing to pay what amounts to bribes to the Philadelphia political machine."
Please explain your lapse in judgement and why Barack has poured BIG BUCKS into Supers, those who now support him; poured BIG BUCKS into PA (and other states) in advertising; and poured BIG BUCKS into "get out the vote initiatives" that have resulted in a 2% voter differential (of course if you disqualify FL and MI)?
That's not ethical.  That's just not throwing good money after bad results.
by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

Bad results would be if he was behind.

by RLMcCauley 2008-04-13 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball


What you're saying is, Obama shouldn't have given money to help keep elected Democrats/Democrats running for Republican seats (which he's even given to avowed Clinton supporters, whereas Clinton has given to her diehard supporters only); He shouldn't have to spend money to overcome Clinton's 20-year name recognition gap on him; and trying to register new voters and get new people involved in the Democratic party?

Wow. I guess I can see why you're a Clinton supporter.

by ragekage 2008-04-13 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

My comments are clear.  No need for you to paraphrase.  But, so there's no confusion, explain Hillary's majority support of core Dems and Barack's 2% voter differential (of course if you discount FL and MI) relying on Reagan Dems and Independents?

by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

Sure. There's millions of people pissed off at the Republicans- former Republicans, new voters, independent voters- and they want to help the Democrats. They may or may not want to become Democrats forever- yet. But they want a Democrat in charge, and they decided they like Obama over Clinton.

I guess you're going to be like other people around here and say that those stupid Republicans and Independents; they need to go home and wait until November, when they can vote for who we TELL them to vote for, like good little boys and girls.

Let's drive them back into the one Republican candidate who appealed to moderate and Independent voters, who the weary former Republicans could support, at least nominally. Good idea!

And heck, Florida and Michigan! Pfft. Why, let's ignore the fact Senator Clinton demanded a revote there not include anyone who didn't vote the first time. The hundreds of thousands of people who stayed home thinking it wouldn't matter, who cares about them, especially when they might not vote the way you want them to?

Yes, your comments are clear. You disapprove, apparently, of getting other Democrats elected; disagree Obama should have tried to overcome the only reason his opponent started with overwhelming support; and shouldn't sully the Democratic party with these "new" people- we've been doing JUST FINE, thank you.

by ragekage 2008-04-13 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball
What?  Get off the Kool-Aid.  Go back to Classic Coke!
OK.  Usually I just ignore hyperbole.  But....
Nope!  Just hyperbole!  Not going there!  ;)
by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

Get yer no good, casserole-thick pizza lovin', IPASS-payin', bad-drivin' butt back to Aurora or Gurnee Mills or what have ya, there, they, then, now.

by ragekage 2008-04-13 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

It's Deep Dish and Gold Coast.

by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

When I lived in Milwaukee, we had a joke.

Three guys- one from Iowa, one from Wisconsin, and one from Michigan, were out hunting, and came upon a lamp. POOF! A genie appeared, and agreed to grant them each one wish in exchange for setting him free.

The guy from Iowa says "I wish for the harvest to be good, for everyone to be happy, and for good tidings to all." POOF! The genie grants his wish and sends him on his way.

The guy from Illinois says "I want a wall around Illinois. That way Illinois can be for Illinois people only. No long lines at Six Flags, no slow drivers clogging up I-94, etc." POOF! The Illinois guy disappears back to Illinois, his wish granted.

The Wisconsin guy thinks for a minute, and says to the Genie, "Tell me about this wall."

"Well," the Genie says, "It's a huge wall, miles high and miles thick, all the way around the state. Nobody can get in or out."

The Wisconsin guy thinks for a minute, and says, "Could you fill it with water?"

by ragekage 2008-04-13 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball
Ha!  Sorta.  Chicago is thriving.  The rest of the midwest is and has been in the toilet.  More midwesterners emigrate to Chicago than any other part of the country.  I love this city and am very fortunate.
With all due respect, couldn't you make it here?
by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

Are you nuts? Do you know how cold it gets in Wisconsin? Dude, it was the in the 70s and 80s here starting in March, the income tax rate is 2%, not 5.5, the cost of living is lower, the people are more friendly, and while people still don't know how to drive (the city shuts down on half a flake of snow), it's in a non-aggressive and charming way.

by ragekage 2008-04-13 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball
Well, the weather does suck.  
Let me re-phrase;
The weather does SUCK A LOT!
by ChitownDenny 2008-04-13 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

**Spoken like a true Bushie.  Only he did it in New Orleans.

by greylox 2008-04-13 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball

I actually disagree with well...everything you said.

I love that some of you bash Obama for donating to other campaigns... he helped build the majority that you are so thankful for but you wish he had nothing to do with it...

and for the record the SMART thing to do in Philadelphia is to shut up and pay the piper. This is going to cost him a lot of votes in Philadelphia. But he is doing the RIGHT thing.

Clearly the only thing that would make you happy is of Obama would have sat down, shut up, and let Hillary have her coronation.

by JDF 2008-04-13 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia P

Now this one is really a jewel.

The man from the MOST political of political machines -
Supposedly turns down another machine.

Must be bad blood between the two branches of the family.

by johnnygunn 2008-04-13 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia P

What does Bill Clinton and the Clinton political machine have to do with this?

by ragekage 2008-04-13 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia P

Or maybe Obama is not the worthless, scummy, machine politician many of you WISH he was.

by JDF 2008-04-13 01:12PM | 0 recs

Smearing Clinton - basically accusing her of buying votes - without a shred of proof, while claiming you're on the high road.

That's beyond hypocrisy, really, into delusion.

by valleyboy 2008-04-13 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow!

Clearly you know nothing about Philadelphia AND you didn't read the article.

I, on the other hand, have worked three Philly elections and believe me we ALWAYS put out the street money. It is what you have to do in Philadelphia. That doesn't make it right though and I am happy to see Obama saying he isn't going to do it.

If Clinton does it that is certainly her perogative, and yes it is basically buying votes. But I am not smearing her- and professionally I would advice both her and Obama to tell the political bosses to shove it.

In the mean time why don't you try getting all the information before calling me a hypocrite or delusional... although believe me I have plenty of names for people like you as well.

by JDF 2008-04-13 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia P

Interesting that you assume this is a principled decision rather than one grounded in pragmatism. My guess is, he figures he's getting the majority of the black votes for free, so why spend a half million for what he's going to get anyway?

Just to prove my point - if Obama is the nominee, I have NO DOUBT he will shell out the street money in November, when he actually has something to lose.

by Susie from Philly 2008-04-13 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Refuses to Play Ball with Philadelphia P

Actually even if the decision is grounded in pragmatism he would not be likely to shell out the street money when he is even more likely win (in many of these wards the Dem to Rep edge is downright absurd.)

In terms of the city of Philadelphia he has a lot more to lose now than in November.

by JDF 2008-04-13 05:13PM | 0 recs


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