Michael Barone

The big guys will understand that you have to provide the voters with some political theater while you give them what they want. As for the little guys, well, hey, in Chicago we don't back no losers.

If in the process you've written legislation full of glitches and boondoggles, well, they can be fixed later. The typical vote in the Chicago City Council is 50-0. Republicans don't count for nothing. Down in Springfield, they're outnumbered 37-22 and 70-48.

Anyone who has spent much time in Chicago knows the city has impressive civic and business leaders, talented and cultured people who creatively support charities and the arts. But they also play team ball.

One measure of that is the $25.6 million that the 2008 Obama campaign raised from metro Chicago. An even more meaningful measure is the $5 million that Hillary Clinton's campaign raised there -- a virtual shutout in a city where the Clintons once raised huge sums. The word obviously went out: You back Barack, and you don't back Hillary.

Now the Clintons are part of the Chicago Way team. As witnessed by Bill Clinton's willingness to dangle some sort of job to Joe Sestak to get him out of the Pennsylvania Senate race.

To some, it may seem anomalous that Barack Obama, who began his Chicago career as a Saul Alinsky-type community organizer, should have taken to the Chicago Way. But Alinsky's brand of community organizing is very Chicago-centric.

It assumes that there will always be a Machine that you can complain about and that if you make a big enough fuss it will have to respond. And that the Machine can always get more plunder from the private sector.

The problem with Obama's Chicago Way is that Chicago isn't America. The Chicago Way works locally because there is an America out there that ultimately pays for it. But who will pay for an America run the Chicago Way?

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM