10/08/2010

Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election


Via-Chicago Tribune

John Kass

As President Barack Obama returns home Thursday for some old-fashioned Chicago politics with his friends, let's make one thing perfectly clear.

America's Hopium farmers must increase production, because the nation's supply is dangerously low, and the November midterm elections are only weeks away.

Even my personal Obama Chia Heads don't produce as much Hopium as before. And this should worry the president.

Because as readers know, Hopium is the stuff that sends tingles up reporters' legs and keeps everybody, even taxpayers, feelin' all right.

If America has a Hopium deficit, we might have no way of altering political reality like we did a few years ago. And these days, reality bites

There's the rotten economic news. Unemployment keeps rising and the federal deficit keeps increasing because politicians in Washington keep spending money that we don't have.

So in a few months, you might need half a bar of gold bullion just to buy a Happy Meal.

Then there are those federal tax hikes coming after the November elections — and don't tell me that reversing a tax cut isn't a tax hike. It's a sign to employers not to hire anyone, not even their idiot brothers-in-law.

The polls say congressional Democrats expect a serious thwacking. And Obama will be blamed by the same journalists who once felt those tingles at his approach.

Here in Illinois, we've got Alexi Giannoulias and Rahm Emanuel seeking the president's help so they can get elected. That way, hope can waft across the state and soothe our fears. Yes, we can.

Alexi, the famed Broadway Bank loan officer with those mob loans dragging him down, sure needs Obama to raise some big money at Thursday's fundraiser. I'm betting on a staged man-hug for TV, with a couple of shoulder slaps. But open mikes can be treacherous, so they probably won't be whispering, "Dude, how's Tony?"

Remember Tony Rezko? He's Obama's personal real estate fairy and loyal customer of the Giannoulias family's now-failed Broadway Bank. Rezko is also the convicted influence peddler who might testify in the retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

So fill a bowl of Hopium and tell me the story of how we had all transcended the broken politics of the past.

And Rahm? Barack's former chief of staff is now on a "tell it like it is" listening tour, while pondering a run for mayor of Chicago.

He was at Izola's Restaurant on the South Side the other day, sitting beneath a smiling portrait of Chicago's first black mayor, the late Harold Washington.

Without Hopium, you might think that some crafty public relations types set up the news photo, since African-American voters haven't exactly warmed up to Rahm.

But with Hopium, the photo looks remarkably different. You can see Washington's lips moving as he looks fondly down upon Rahm. You can hear his deep voice cutting through the Hopium clouds:

"Rahm Emanuel, you are my spiritual and political son, and you are without question my choice to lead this city against the antediluvian dodo heads. Barack says you'd make a terrific mayor. So what if you haven't lived in the city for most of your life? You just got a condo, my man!"

What I wanted to see was an animated Harold with the lips moving like in those old Conan O'Brien skits. That would really help Rahm connect with Chicago.

So as I pondered the photo, I did the prudent thing. I grabbed a pair of round-edged safety scissors and reached for the two Obama Chia heads in my office — both the Happy Obama and the Determined Obama — and prepared to harvest some crops.

But there was no bounty.

Both the Happy and Determined Obama heads once were lush with great greenfros of Hopium.

Yet now, they're dry and bare. Only stems and twigs remain.

Taxpayers could sure have used some Hopium the other day, after they heard the audio of Giannoulias' appearance at a Tribune editorial board meeting.

The Democrat was asked a simple question: If you'd been in the Senate the past two years, what federal spending would you have opposed?

"Well, that's a good question," Giannoulias said. "I think, looking at where we've been over the last decade, the amount of money this nation spent, the exploding deficits and national debt that we're facing, I think there are obviously a number of issues that have come up."

But what federal spending would you have voted against?

"Voted against?" asked Giannoulias, stammering. "Um … specifically? You're talking specifically, or …?"

Was it excruciatingly painful to hear? Specifically, yes.

But that was without Hopium.

After a couple of tokes trimmed from the Happy Obama Chia Head, anyone listening to his comments would have heard a different Giannoulias answer, one perhaps a bit more Marleyesque:

"Rise up this morning / Smile with the rising sun / three little birds pitch by my doorstep / singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true / Saying, this is my message to you, ooh, ooh:

"Singing don't worry about a thing / Cause every little thing gonna be all right / Singing don't worry … gonna be all right."

OK, Bob Marley's answer is just as short on specifics as Alexi's real answer. But isn't the Hopium-laced one more soothing, with the deficit spiraling out of control?

Specifically, there are only 26 days until the elections. The president's political crew has got to be hoping that Americans find some more Hopium soon.

The supply is almost gone.

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