The Campaign Spot

The Ban-Happy Urban Political Culture That Produced Obama

A thought somewhat related to the Rezko stuff… My friend Cam noted a few weeks ago that while Americans have seen liberal presidential candidates before, we haven’t seen a big-city machine politician like Barack Obama at the top of the ticket in a long time.

John Kerry lived in Boston, but played little role in local politics; he had a brief stint as a lieutenant governor and then went to the Senate. Al Gore, too, was a creature of the Senate and the dual-edged sword that is the vice presidency. And no offense to Bill Clinton, but Little Rock and the incestuous Arkansas political culture isn’t the same as the big-city hardball of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore… Dukakis, Mondale, Carter… most of these guys came up in state legislatures or spent long stretches of their pre-presidential-campaign career in state or federal politics. None of them had demonstrated recent skill in climbing the greasy pole of inner-city politics.
Most of Barack Obama’s political career has been spent in a city that enacted or considered a far-reaching smoking ban in all restaurants and bars, a ban on trans fats, a ban on foie gras, a ban on street performers, a ban on advertisements for The Nativity Story movie, a ban on the ownership of live chickens, a ban on “second hand smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces” (okay, that one was Elk Grove), and a law that would effectively ban elephants.

I’m not even getting into the various gun, ammunition and other variations of firearms bans.
The City Council is considering banning tiny plastic bags because they’re used in the drug trade; if you’re caught with one the bags used for buttons or other small items and are suspected of using them for drugs, you could be facing a $1,500 fine.
To pay for the enforcement of all of these bans, the city has the highest sales taxes in the country.
Barack Obama is, indeed, a different kind of politician; this is partially because he comes from a different kind of political culture.
UPDATE: Whoops, forgot one. They banned free newspapers
Good to see the First Amendment is as optional in that city as the Second Amendment is! 


The Latest