President Obama made an astonishing claim last week that has gone almost wholly unexamined for accuracy:
"I'm from Chicago. I don't break," the president said.
People from Chicago break all the time. Just look at the Cubs' disabled list.
Chicago, in fact, just might lead the nation in breakage.
And what about those parking meters?
More to Obama's assertion, people here most assuredly break.
Take Ike Carothers. He's just the latest to break and wear a wire to City Hall every day for the last year.
Nick Calabrese broke and became one of the biggest mob turncoats in history.
Hell, Nelson Algren broke and fled his beloved town for the East Coast.
Even ultimate Chicago tough guy Mike Ditka was broken. He ended up coaching the Saints, for godsakes.
If Obama was trying to claim some connection to a tough guy lineage, he got his history wrong.
Chicago isn't a tough town, it's a coward's town, built on political rackets and go-along-to-get-along ethics where breaking is essential to the deal.
And if Obama was trying to claim some connection to the Machine here that doesn't break, well, that's just at odds with the image he's tried to present to the nation - even though his White House is filled with Daley cronies.
Finally, Obama has been shown to break plenty.
It would have been more accurate for him to say, "I'm from Chicago. I know how to cut a deal."
And it might have been more politically useful.
Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.