The Chicago Sun-Times has steadily efforted to chip away at the pedestal on which supporters and the media have placed Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), the perch from which he happily mulls a run for the White House.
In its latest piece, the paper seems to have knocked away some plaster: last year, Obama gave an internship in his office to the kid of a big-money donor who's alleged to have taken a $250,000 kickback as part of a state-level graft scheme.
Worse, the paper says Obama did the favor on the advice of Illinois Democratic moneyman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, currently indicted for his role in the aforementioned graft scheme.
Now, Obama gave the internship to the young man -- John Aramanda, son of Joseph Aramanda, whom the paper ID's as an unindicted co-conspirator in Rezko's scheme -- in the summer of 2005, before news of the Rezko investigation came out.
But some might say that the alleged crimes aren't what make the story so disheartening. Rather, it's that Obama, who is seen by many as a modern-day Horatio Alger -- "proof that this country affords equal opportunities to anyone who works hard enough," as New York magazine described him in October -- would apparently give a such a coveted position to a kid on the basis of how much his rich dad ponied up for the senator's election.
Perhaps young Mr. Aramanda is bright and talented. Perhaps he demonstrates the "audacity of hope." Still, was he really the most deserving candidate for such a beneficial gig?