Dynasties and Change

M_obama_dnc
In her speech last
night Michele Obama seems to have played it safe: burying (temporarily, I hope)
her tart realism under heavy coats of inspiration and adoration. She stood
behind the chicken coop podium and delivered an alternately rousing and halting
speech in which she defused the two major controversies she confronted: her
"I’m finally proud of America" moment and the simmering resentment of
Hilary Clinton’s supporters. Then Obama came on in a teleconference, looking
and sounding like a guy making a quick cell phone call home to say he’s going
to be late. It was a rare moment of inauthenticity for a couple caught in the
cold clutches of party handlers.

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Michele Obama’s
Chicago connection was a major theme last night, and it promises to continue
throughout the DNC. Earlier in the day two other Illinois politicians
spoke: Illinois Attorney General Lisa
Madigan (daughter of Michael Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House of
Representatives) and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (son of Jesse Jackson, one time
presidential candidate and current irritant to the Obamas). Madigan and Jackson are just two offspring of
Democrats holding public office. Two more prominent ones are Chicago Mayor
Richard M. Daley and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, easily the worst
public office holder in the state. The Obama promise of hope and change comes
from a city still mired in nepotism and patronage. Talk about overcoming the limits of one’s
background.

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