Chicago’s Grant Park, where Obama gave his victory speech

By John Ruberry

On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor, bellowed, “God d–n America” and “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” from the pulpit of his Chicago church.

Two nights from now President Barack Obama will give his farewell address in Chicago, his adopted hometown. The Hawaii-born 44th president moved to Chicago a year after graduating from college where he worked, with at best mixed success, as a community organizer on the Far South Side. It’s an area still beset by violence and poverty with no hope of a turnaround thirty years after Obama left that post so he could attend Harvard law school.

Ayers and Dohrn Chicago home

It was in 1996 Chicago where Obama launched his political career. One of his first campaign stops–perhaps his first–was at the home of his friends, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Eight years later another Chicagoan, state Senate President Emil Jones Jr, put Obama’s name on some key bills that bolstered his liberal credentials. Obama scored a surprise win in the Democratic US Senate primary, and after the Republican nominee imploded, he easily won in the general election.

You know the rest of the story.

However, Obama was not a slam-dunk in the 2008 presidential election against John McCain–what we now call the Great Recession sealed the deal–and America elected its first black president.

Chicago is still recovering from the ’08 economic collapse. Of the nation’s 35-largest cities, Chicago has the largest percentage of underwater home mortgages.Two years ago Chicago enacted its largest property tax hike in history, the impetus for it was to pay for underfunded municipal pension funds. What does this have to do with Obama? Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, Obama is the most hyper-partisan president in memory. Along the White House ride for Obama was Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisor and “Berlin Wall,” the former slumlord was a deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s Daley, not his successor, former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who bears the responsibility for the Chicago pension debacle. But Chicago’s generous municipal pensions are political payback for public-sector unions, who’ve been an arm of the Democratic Party in all but name for decades.

Obama has always been very cozy government labor unions. 

Two years ago–under Emanuel’s watch–Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s bonds, and those of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk. Other rating services haven’t followed suit yet, but they absolutely don’t view Chicago favorably.

Chicago’s population is at it lowest level in 100 years.

Chicagoans pay the nation’s highest sales tax rate.

Chickens.

Last year at least 762 people were murdered in Chicago–an appalling 57 percent increase over the year before. Chicago suffered more killings than New York City and Los Angeles–combined. One of the reasons cited for the soaring murder rate was Rahm Emanuel’s inept handling of the shooting of unarmed black teen Laquan McDonald–with sixteen bullets–by a white cop, all of which has compelled Chicago Police officers to use less aggressive law enforcement tactics. Chicago is a hotbed for Black Lives Matter activists. The outgoing president has been supportive of this radical group, which deems racist the statement All Lives Matter.

Near where the Facebook attack occurred

That leads to last week’s racist atrocity in Chicago, the torturing of a white special needs man–thirty minutes of which was streamed live on Facebook–by four blacks in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, slashed, forced to drink toilet water, and coerced to say “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–k white people.”

Two months earlier in another West Side neighborhood a white man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten by four blacks. That attack was captured on video, the assailants screamed, “You voted Trump” and “Beat his a–.” While the victim was indeed a Trump voter–yes, there are a few in Illinois besides me–he told authorities that there was no way the thugs could have known that. There was no Trump bumper sticker on his car–he was white and that was enough provocation for these creeps.

Obama’s chickens–and those of Chicago Democrats–have come home to roost.

Our collectivist president has practiced identity politics for his entire adult life. which for the most part means race politics. Us versus them. And as a collectivist Obama has appointed himself as the savior to put the pieces back together.

Chicago’s Northwest Side

But breaking things is much easier than putting them back together.

Some final thoughts.

As a public service I am recommending that if you are planning to attend Chicago’s McCormick Place address, please use public transportation. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 45 of our 50 states. With the exception of Detroit, the worst-maintained streets and roads I’ve encountered are in Chicago. And while you’re driving around potholes and crevices, please beware of Chicago’s ubiquitous red light and speeding cameras. An astounding 1.9 million traffic camera tickets were issued between 2010 and 2015. Chicago has 2.7 million or so residents. Most of those tickets were written while Emanuel was mayor.

The former administrator of Chicago’s traffic camera program is serving a ten-year prison sentence for accepting bribes.

Someone needs to come up with a misery index for big cities like Chicago, which should include such items as corruption, low high school graduation rates, unfunded pension obligations, red light cameras, crumbling infrastructure, population loss, taxes, and yes of course, crime.

John “Lee” Ruberry

Perhaps Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s amiable pal who is an economics professor at the University of Chicago, can absolve himself of leftism and get to work on this much-needed project.

Thank God I left Chicago for the suburbs nearly two decades ago.

And Obama, at least for now, won’t live in Chicago after he moves out of White House next week. He’ll probably only return to visit his presidential library.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Chicago area resident who writes the Marathon Pundit blog. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board had no input in composing this blog entry.

Chicago's skyline
Chicago’s skyline

By John Ruberry

Four weeks from now Chicagoans will return to the polls and choose between the remaining two candidates for mayor–former Obama White House Chief of Staff and incumbent Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” (pronounced ‘chewie’) Garcia.

Interestingly, the candidates are often referred to by the mainstream media as Rahm or Chuy–I will for the most part follow suit.

Unlike in 2011, this time around Rahm didn’t receive a majority in the first round of voting, which is a defeat of sorts for the imperious, hot-tempered mayor, who swept the local media endorsements before the first tally.

Chicago’s far-left, including Bill Ayers, has lined up behind Chuy who finished a distant second to Rahm. As for Emanuel, he’s been dubbed Mayor One Percent by those lefties. Rahm’s wealth has been an issue with them, but the mayor has parlayed his business reputation–as well as his White House connections–to recruit over 30 corporate headquarters to Chicago, including most notably Motorola Mobility. Most of those new jobs have gone downtown, allowing Garcia’s opponents to make the same accusation against Rahm that all of his recent predecessors had to endure–that he only cares about the moneyed-class of the skyscraper set.

Chicago's Northwest Side
Chicago’s Northwest Side

Rahm has chipped away at Chicago’s pension bomb, but the long-term prognosis is poor, so much so that Illinois’ Republican governor, Bruce Rauner–a friend of Rahm’s–says that Chicago is on the road to bankruptcy. Forty-nine schools, mostly in poor areas, were closed under Rahm, but Chicago is losing population, particularly in its blighted areas–what else could be done? Chuy pledges to reopen some of those schools, but of course he isn’t saying how he would pay for that.

Garcia is surely gaining some votes by vowing to eliminate red light cameras. Chicago has more red light cameras than any other city. Those cameras contribute $500 million to the city’s coffers–and reliance on such a detested source for revenue is another black mark against Rahm.

But what does Chuy offer Chicago voters? Other than vague promises to be for the people and not the one percent at the top of the financial pyramid–not a whole lot.

Violent crime has been another issue Rahm has faced. Chicago, with a far-smaller population, has more murders every year than New York–but does anyone seriously believe that a leftist can be as a better crime fighter? Hostility to the police is part of the DNA of the ultra-liberal–see New York’s mayor Bill DeBlasio. Who knows, maybe NYC will leapfrog past Chicago in murders in a few years. But such an occurrence will only obscure Chicago’s violent crime problem.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.