Chicago, D.C.

The invaluable Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass:

Not even three or four pipes full of Hopium could have convinced me that the Congress of the United States would ever start looking like the Chicago City Council.

But now, with the Chicago Way White House twisting arms for its federal health care legislation, Democrats in Congress and Chicago aldermen are beginning to share a remarkable resemblance.

They’re starting to look like fall guys.

“The Congress? They’re acting like aldermen. Like fall guys. And we know all about fall guys in the city of Chicago,” said Jim Laski, a former Chicago alderman and former federal inmate who is now a WGN radio talk show host…

“These congressmen are starting to understand what it’s like in Chicago, with the Chicago guys running the White House. They (the Democrats) have to know they’re the fall guys,” Laski said. “Otherwise, why would they so desperate to keep their fingerprints off the health care thing?”

Things are looking more Chicago in Washington all the time.

In Chicago, the mayor gets what he wants, and the mayor’s friends get what they want. And the aldermen? They get the ridicule and the blame.

If the president gets what he desires — a health care victory — then Congress will pay for it in the midterm elections in November, and they know it.

The proof is in that latest congressional trick announced on Tuesday, a ploy so weaselly that it could have been hatched by Chicago politicians…

“This whole health care thing is Chicago,” Laski said.

Except, that in Chicago, the mayor’s guy doesn’t meet you naked in the shower to twist your arm. It’s just not done.

“But in Chicago, you’re an alderman and the mayor’s guy comes in your office, drops a legislative package on your desk, and then says, ‘You vote ‘yes’ on this tomorrow, OK?’

“You haven’t read it, you really don’t know who’s going to make a score, there are no real details, but you’re expected to vote for it.

“The same thing with health care in Washington. Who knows what’s really in it? Nobody. But the president’s guys tell the congressmen, ‘You vote on this or else.’ It’s called arm-twisting but it’s really arm-breaking. That’s the Chicago Way.”…

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