REZKO UPDATE (06/04/08 4:00 p.m.): As everyone is now reporting, Tony Rezko was found guilty on many, but not all, of the counts brought against him for mail fraud, money laudering, and others. Much more on this in the days to come, as you might expect. I hope Obama enjoyed his one day of over-the-top effusive and fauning press coverage, because the headlines in Chicago are going to be a lot different tomorrow morning....
Well, it's official--at least, it's official that the Barackstar now contends he's the presumptive Dem nominee. Hillary is trying to salvage what political capital she can out of this, as she has even stooped so low as to float the hint that she'd take the veep job. Well, I am pretty sure Obama's master plan is to enlist Hillary and her supporters (especially the big money donors), but do it in such a way that he doesn't have to share the White House with Bill and Hill.
Anyway, that's not what I wanted to really dive into tonight. Rather, since it's pretty clear Obama will be at the top of the Dem ticket, the IL GOP must contend with Barack-O-Mania, or risk getting wiped off the face of the fall races. But, there is hope, grasshoppers.
It's no coincidence that on the same day Obama clinches the Dem nomination, yet another one of his spiritual (and make no mistake, also his POLITICAL) mentors, Father Michael Pfleger, has been placed on a leave of absence by Cardinal George. Obama's ties to Pfleger can be minimized by the campaign, but can't be entirely hidden. (UPDATED): The Wednesday Wall Street Journal notes this:
A 2004 Chicago Sun-Times interview with Mr. Obama mentioned three men as his religious guides. One was Rev. Wright. Another was Father Michael Pfleger, the Louis Farrakhan ally whose recent remarks caused Mr. Obama to resign from Trinity, but for whose Chicago church Mr. Obama channeled at least $225,000 in grants as a state senator. Until recently, the priest was connected to the campaign, which flew him to Iowa to host an interfaith forum. Father Pfleger's testimony for the candidate has since been scrubbed from Mr. Obama's campaign Web site. A third mentor was Illinois state Senator James Meeks, another Chicago pastor who has generated controversy for mixing pulpit and politics.
Father Mike's supporters at St. Sabina, of course, think he's done nothing wrong. But, Obama, being a bright guy, has certainly learned a few lessons in this campaign, and one was not to waste any time throwing his former mentor under the bus. The St. Sabina parishioners are sure mad at Cardinal George for giving Father Mike the (at least temporary) heave-ho. Why aren't they mad at Obama for tossing Father Mike away like a used shake-and-bake bag?
But, how many more supporters can Obama toss under the campaign bus before the rest of America takes note that he's disavowed just about every significant associate he's had in the last 20 years? Does this not cast grave doubt on his judgment, at the very least? Will the general public finally start to get the picture that the long line of uber-radical figures that have all made headlines and subsequently been publicly rejected by Obama (some later rather than sooner) are a reflection of who Obama is and what he believes, rather than some kind of 'surprise' that these folks could have harbored these views for all these years, and poor, gullible Barack never knew?
And, better may be yet to come. There's still a little matter of a guy named REZKO, who's guilty verdict should be out any day. And his ties to another mope named BLAGO may well come back to eviscerate any claim Obama tries to lay to an ethical reformer of government, if the sitting governor of his home state is forced to face charges, or even the strong implication that he's going down.
And, I what I want to know is, will Hillary take the veep nomination (at least for now, before the Dem convention) hoping Obama will continue to slide and prove himself unelectable? I have difficulty believing she'd really settle for VP as the pinnacle of her career.
The news about the nomination lock-up, although long-anticipated, is still too fresh to make any valid prognostications about how this is all going to shape up. But, it is heartening that McCain is not waiting around for Obama to bring the fight to him. In fact, Obama really needed to wrap this up so that he could stop fighting a two-front war and concentrate on McCain. So, let's wait and see how this all develops before we GOPers do anything rash...
10TH DISTRICT UPDATE: Meanwhile, in 10th District news, Congressman Mark Kirk keeps doing his thing... Yesterday, Kirk addressed the members of AIPAC at its conference in Washington. According to TA's sources, Kirk spoke before at least 600 people over two breakout panels. The room was packed each time, and people sat on floors and leaned on walls to get a chance to hear him. He got at least six standing ovations, and the buzz around the entire conference is that Mark Kirk is the undisputed leader on U.S.-Israel defense issues.
Kirk has also been in the news lately for a new initiative to extend COBRA coverage beyond the current 18 month period that is allowed under the current law.
Finally, in a bit of a humorous twist, the Seals gas stunt is not one that will be quickly forgotten, at least in Lincolnshire. This week, Linconshire's mayor, Brett Blomberg, came out and endorsed Kirk over Seals.
UPDATED: Michelle Malkin has a good look at Obama's excuses on the bus victims now that the Rezko verdict has come out.