Monday, December 22, 2008

Obama Feeds the Illinois Political Combine

Chicago Tribune Columnist John Kass reports:

"Obama selected outgoing Illinois U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Combine) for the post of secretary of transportation, putting LaHood in charge of Obama's planned trillion-dollar public works bonanza being sold as a jobs bill.

'Every dollar that we spend, we want it spent on projects that are there, not because of politics, but because they're good for the American people,' Obama said. 'If we're building a road, it better not be a road to nowhere.' Not because of politics?

What does the great reformer take us for, a bunch of chumbolones?

What Obama forgot to mention is that with LaHood in charge of the roads, they'll lead to one place: Bill Cellini.

Cellini, the Republican boss of Springfield who has been indicted in the Blagojevich scandal for allegedly shaking down the producer of the movie "Million Dollar Baby," is a strong LaHood ally. Cellini runs Sangamon County, and LaHood has enjoyed Cellini's political support.

They also joined to help oust the last true reformer in Illinois politics, former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, the Republican who was denied an endorsement from his own state party after he brought federal prosecutors to Illinois with no connection to the bipartisan Combine that runs things here.Republican money man Cellini is not only the Chicago political connection to machine Democrats and Mayor Richard Daley's City Hall—and a Blagojevich fundraiser—he's also the boss of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association.

They're the guys behind the guys who pour that hot sticky stuff on the roads, but don't get their cashmere sweaters dirty and drive black Escalades to the job site, before wheeling off for some osso bucco at Volare or other fine restaurants. They're interested in federal highways, aren't they?"

Read the entire column here:,0,2882820.column

John Kass is worth the subscription price for the Trib.

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