Fun fact: Bill Daley isn’t the only new chief of staff in the White House with longtime ties to the Chicago Way. Yep, it’s No Windy City Corporate Lawyer Left Behind Week in the nation’s capital.
On the other side of the White House, deep-pocketed campaign-finance mega-bundler Tina Tchen was named first lady Michelle Obama’s new right-hand woman — or rather, left-hand woman. The self-described “progressive” attorney from Chicago is taking over as chief of staff in the East Wing following the expected departure of Susan Sher. Tchen personally raised more than $200,000 for the Obama presidential campaign while a lawyer at white-shoe Skadden Arps. (No word on whether Mrs. Obama gave her the same anti–corporate lawyer, fat cat–bashing lecture she delivered on the campaign trail.)
Now, stick with me here as we diagram another Chicago shuffle. As usual, all roads lead to the Daley political machine:
Sher is Mrs. Obama’s old boss at the University of Chicago Medical Center (where they worked together on an infamous “patient-dumping” scheme that benefited Chicago political operative and public-relations guru David Axelrod at the expense of poor urban patients outsourced to far-off clinics). Before that, Sher worked as a former top city attorney for retiring Chicago mayor Richard Daley’s administration, where she forged a tight relationship with Daley’s deputy-chief-of-staff-turned-lifetime-Obama-consigliere Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett hired Michelle Obama at Sher’s behest, and they all linked arms as they gamboled together down the patronage-trimmed path to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
As White House senior adviser, Jarrett has had free rein to create shady, self-serving political offices and agencies on the taxpayers’ dime. One of those offices is the White House Office of Public Engagement. OPE is the secretive office Jarrett and the Obamas used to push their failed bid to win the 2016 Olympics for Mayor Daley and their hometown. That doomed corporate-sports-welfare campaign would have provided a multibillion-dollar taxpayer windfall to Daley’s bankrupt city and the real-estate mogul friends of the Obamas’ inner Chicago circle.
The head of the White House OPE? Chicago corporate lawyer, prodigious six-figure political fundraiser, and old Jarrett friend Tina Tchen.
Tchen was listed in 2009 White House visitor logs as having met there with none other than radical left-wing billionaire George Soros.
Tchen was also in the middle of the Obama administration’s efforts to recruit artists to advance their political agenda through the taxpayer-supported National Endowment of the Arts. Conservative film producer and BigGovernment.com contributor Patrick Courrielche first blew the whistle in 2009 when the NEA and OPE gathered 75 artists, musicians, writers, and poets on a conference call to exhort them to create propaganda art supporting Obama’s domestic-policy agenda.
Tchen was quoted telling the group on the call that “the administration wants to sustain energy from the election process and turn it toward the agenda.” Others in on the politicized-arts campaign discussed creating “counter-narratives” to combat GOP health-care critics and anti-amnesty activists.
In a statement touting the chief-of-staff appointment, Mrs. Obama lauded Tchen’s “outreach” prowess and praised her for “ensuring that communities across the country have a voice and a presence at the White House.”
“Communities.” It’s the 2011 euphemism for privileged Chicago friends of Obama.
Make no mistake: These appointments aren’t about moving toward “centrism.” They’re about protecting the politics of self-perpetuating favoritism. With Daley in the West Wing and Tchen in the East Wing, the Crony State is safe.
— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies (Regnery, 2010). © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.