“Obama?” Hinky Dink turned to his partner Bathouse John and barked out a laugh. “Guy is a lightweight. He’s nothing. As a real ward boss in Chicago? He wouldn’t last an hour!
Hinky Dink and Bathouse John had both been gone since 1946. Their “Levee District” kingdom of crooks, alderman, con artists and hookers long since leveled into glass palaces of the $75 dollar sirloin and the $25 dollar martini. Hinky Dink and John were real ward bosses. So if you listened real hard to the spirits of history that float through the city like fading summer winds, it wasn’t real hard to see them sitting at the end of their bar, watching all of the channels covering the republican convention. Cable coverage where they sat was excellent.
And it wasn’t too hard to hear them roar in laughter every time someone from the frenzied crowd of scary looking white people in Tampa said something about, “Take your ward heeler politics of divisiveness, Mister Obama and go back to Chicago!”
A drinking game soon followed. Every time a republican parroted the word “Chicago” they both had a shot of booze.
“But wait,” Bathouse said, laughing so hard he almost fell off his bar stool. “That guy from his Ohio? The one who said he’d throw Obama out of his bar?”
“Boner? I think his name is Boner.”
“Do you really think that the Black guy would even set one foot in Boner's bar?”
“Because he wouldn’t want to or because he’d get thrown out?”
“Yes!” they both said at once.
“And the divisiveness? By the way. What does that mean?” Hinky Dink asked.
“I think it means that people are thinking different from each other,” answered Bathouse.
“Well that’s proof these clowns got their you know what’s up their you know where’s. You know ANYBODY who thinks different in our ward?”
“So any fool can see that these people in Tampa are talking about themselves!”
“Hell, what a waste a time that is!” said Hinky Dink. “They could have their people out collecting the ah expense money. Instead of sitting around whooping and playing with themselves.”
“Oh they got it easy on that front. They got all their dough from like 5 guys. So they got no money worries at all.”
“I like that,” said Hinky Dink. It’s this whole “Obama the Chicagoan, bit that makes me howl. He’s a Chicagoan like Jim Belushi is a Chicagoan. Like a professional Chicagoan.” Obama skated along the outside his whole career. Played chess while all the boys played checkers. That’s how he made it.
“Even you ain’t on the arm here, you know that this Obama guy glided right through here without one single tie to anybody in Chicago politics. He built his whole organization himself. I mean you might like the guy or maybe you don’t like the guy. We of course don't care which. Most folks got a little of both. But the ONE thing no one who lives here EVER argues about is whether he is part of Chicago politics. Everyone knows he just ain’t a part of Chicago politics.”
“Come to think of it,” said Bathhouse. “I blame the wife.”
“Obama’s wife. She’s like something out of some movie. Solid. Working. Smart. Good middle class family. Good looking. Nobody could get nuthin on her cause she’s the real deal. She’s what all these clowns at the Tampa party want to be!”
“Damn. Nothing worse than the real deal. What does she give ‘um to attack? Healthy eating? That’s when you really know you got to start making up some stories.”
And as the two old ward heelers looked up again and heard from the TV broadcasting across the years, “So take your vicious politics back to Chicago,” again they started laughing, raised their glasses in a toast and Hinky Dink said to Bathhouse John,
“Oh and one more thing. These clowns might not want to insult an entire city when you’re running your guy for president. Cause when you come back and say, ‘Oh, we was talking about that one guy. Not the whole city.’ What will happen next is that we will smile. Say nothing.
And we will remember.”