The opening chapter of the Book of Matthew lays out the geneaology and the direct line from Abraham to Jesus. Geneaology is key to understanding Chicago politics, too. To understand the Bible, it helps to know a theologian. To understand Chicago, it helps to know a political theologian or two.
I lived in the Chicago area for 5 years, during a time when the Daley Restoration took place. As this election cycle has continued, it's become increasingly clear that this election is about Chicago politics in ways that no other national election has been since 1968. Sen. Obama is from Chicago and, more importantly, of Chicago. It takes a lot of words to explain what that means, so I'm going to suggest that you read two related pieces that may help you understand.
The first piece is from our friend The Lady Logician, who came of age in Chicago and observed the odd rituals for a good part of her youth. While LL has recently decamped to Utah, she knows where the bodies are buried. As you read her piece, you'll notice that she links to another piece from Michael Barone, one of the most intelligent and respected political observers on the national stage. The main thrust of Barone's piece is the controversy surrounding the relationship of Obama with William Ayers, the one-time domestic terrorist who is now a respected part of what Barone calls tout Chicago. It's an interesting story, but the key to Barone's piece is the Book of Matthew-style discussion of how geneaology is key in understanding Chicago politics and why a member of the House of Madigan or the House of Burke or the House of Lipinski, to say nothing of the House of Daley, can pretty much control a baronage in Chicago, or beyond.
Hit those links - if Obama wins, Chicago politics will go nationwide. You need to know what that means.